Hunting season has ended. You’ve hung up your gun, neatly packed away your clothes and stared at the remaining meat in your freezer. But you don’t worry because you know there is plenty of work to be done with plenty of time. Scouting season has begun.

“Where should I put my tree stand?” The perpetual question each year you ask yourself as you peek through the curtains with your morning cup of coffee.

You might think, “Well, if it turns out that I didn’t choose a good spot, I can just move it mid-season. Right?”

Wrong. By moving your tree stand mid-season you risk disturbing the area immensely. Animals are well aware of every detail in their environment by sight, smell and sound. All that ruckus you would make climbing, moving, shuffling, taking apart, putting back together is going to be a problem.

You might be able to move a small climber without too much trouble; those are easier to transport and require little to no assembly once initially put together. Ultimately, it would be best for you to stay put for the season.  

There are a number of things to look for when scouting. Some obvious, some not so obvious, but all of which are great indicators for choosing your eventual tree stand location.

Signs include sheds, poop, trails, tracks, travel lanes, water, tree rubs, scrapes. All of these mean deer have been near, are near, and you may have just missed them, depending on the time of day. Pick an area where the wind is generally consistent; you want to be downwind.

Once you feel comfortable with the amount of signs you have found and the territory you have scouted, select the most optimal spot. Ideally you will have two or three separate spots for variety during the season, but one good one is better than none.

As tempting as it may be, do not place your tree stand directly in a food plot or bedding area; opt for the perimeter. If baiting is legal in your area, and you are indeed baiting, do not place your tree stand directly over the baiting area. Place your stand at a comfortable distance to enable a clean shot. Try to place your tree stand such that you have a clear view from all accessible directions. If you need to, saw away branches that are obstructing your view.

Visit your spot periodically during the off season just to be sure things are in order, but be sure to be just as vigilant as you would on any other hunting day. 

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