Stand placement is one of the most important factors to killing mature bucks. There are a number of factors to consider when deciding where to place a stand for mature whitetails. Below are a few suggestions to for ideal stand placement:
- Buck Bedding Areas: Hunting buck bedding areas is the most difficult type of stand placement but also the most effective if done correctly. There are two options for how and when to place stands in buck bedding areas. The first is to place stands in the post-season (January through April) in buck bedding areas that have been located via scouting. This method requires the hunter to sneak in when the wind is right and go in very slowly without making noise spoking the buck during the season. Another method is to use a light-weight ladder and stand and sneak into the buck bedding area (located during previous scouting trips) and place the stand slightly downwind of the buck without making any virtually any noise. This is an expert technique that few hunters use. Both of these methods if done correctly allow a buck hunter to see trophy deer when executed properly. Many bucks are nocturnal the majority of the hunting season. However, if a bed is located and the buck is there, those bucks will get typically rise from their bed during daylight and not move far at all. This offers skilled hunters an opportunity at those bucks many hunters claim are nocturnal. Dan Infalt offers a few ideas on this challenging type of hunting.
- Hunting Just Outside Buck Bedding Areas: This is the type of bed hunting that most hunters will prefer. It does not require the methodical sneaking into an area to hunt nearly right on top of a bedded buck. Hunting near bedding areas it is still necessary to be quiet and to be downwind of a mature buck, but the precautions are not as demanding. In this situation these stands should be placed in the post-season or well before the season. When the wind is right these locations can be hunted. Scouting prior to the season can inform a hunter where the buck is bedding, however, trail cameras may need to be used to determine to the typically trail the buck takes from the bedding area. If unable to determine from scouting and cameras the bucks preferred trail from the bed this type of hunting can be very challenging.
- Note: Hunting buck bedding areas during the frenzy period just before the rut as well as during the rut is not wise. Bucks will typically be following does during this period of the season. Bedding areas should be hunted earlier in the season and possibly again in the later part of the season. Another important aspect of this type of hunting is that a hunter will typically only have 1 or 2 chances at the most with this type of hunting, bucks will quickly become aware of a hunter in the area and change their patterns. If a hunter prefers this method of hunting extensive scouting is required. Numerous buck bedding areas need to be identified prior to the season.
- Funnels: Funnels that exist between bedding areas and food sources can be dynamite places to place a stand. Two bodies of water the force deer within a small piece of land is the best type of natural funnels. Others types of funnels can be as simple as fences, blow down blockages, or anything that causes deer to use a narrow passage. Small strips of woods between fields or even ditches can also be great deer funnels. Be creative and look for different types barriers that cause whitetails to use certain passages through barriers. Regardless of how good a funnel appears to be consider that mature bucks will often use secluded and isolated routes to travel. The obvious funnel may not be the best funnel for a big buck other than during the mating season. If there is a major funnel that the majority of the deer use a mature buck may even be using a more difficult alongside the primary funnel. Typically the passage corridor of a mature buck will have cover.