A debate that has been going on for years between hunters is to use a ground blind or a tree stand. Both of these options have their pros and cons which make it harder to determine which one you should be using.
It is possible that the conditions of the day will lean toward you needing to be above the ground and bagging your kill from high up, but there are other days when it would be better for you to have your feet firmly on the ground. This is why you need to keep a few things in mind when you are planning your hunt.
A Scent On The Wind
When determining a hunt, scent is going to be one of the most important factors to consider. Depending on how high you are going to be, a tree stand might be the perfect strategy. However, this can also hinder you more than it helps.
If you are going to be up around 30 feet, you are less likely to be detected and you will have a better view of the surroundings. The problem is that your kill zone will be reduced, particularly if you are going to be using a bow.
A lower elevation of 15 to 20 feet will increase your chances of being detected by deer that are making it close enough for you to shoot.
You can also use a ground blind at these times, but they will take more preparation when setting up. As you are going to be at the same level as the animals, you need to take care with removing your scent.
Everything from your blind to your clothing and shoes will need to be washed with a scent eliminating detergent. The walls of the blind will keep most of the scent you create inside, but you can help this by washing everything beforehand.
Regardless of what you choose to do, you need to track the direction and strength of the wind and the time of day. Morning sun causes the air to rise as it heats up and this is better for tree stand hunters, but the opposite occurs at night. Drifting and slow winds will compound any foreign scents, particularly in a bowl or valley.
Terrain, Camouflage, And Cover
While this might seem simple, it is generally the simple aspects that get overlooked. You have to be aware of your surroundings and, if you can, scout ahead a few weeks in advance to locate the best site.
A tree stand will not help you if you are looking for deer in a prairie or field that only has small trees and brush. However, a ground blind will not be helpful when you are in a thick forest or a wooded area.
You also need to ensure that you are using the right style of tree stand or ground blind to cover you. If you have something that stands out a lot from the background, you are going to spook the animals.
Your blind will need to copy the outline of the other foliage in the area or be broken up enough to meld with the foliage. With a tree stand, you need to look at climbing ropes and shows instead of ladders as they go unnoticed. Rope is also easier to carry if you are going to use more than one stand.
One of the most subtle factors that affect the success of your hunt is confidence. Whether you are hunting duck or deer, with a gun or a bow, being familiar and confident will add a bit extra to your hunting which makes the difference between a kill shot and missing.
If you have never been more than 10 feet up a tree, you should go with a blind and ensure that you are kept hidden. However, if you are a bit claustrophobic, the small space of the blind will generally not be the best option.
Regardless of what you choose, you need to practice ahead of time. If you are looking at an archery hunt and are going to use a tree stand, you need to practice until everything you do is second nature.
This will include climbing into the tree stand, shooting or just sitting around all day because if something is unfamiliar it will affect your hunt. The same needs to be done if you are using ambush hunting blinds.
Spend the day in one during different weather conditions and practice shooting in the confined space. Having more confidence in what you are doing will make your shots much smoother.
Whatever style you prefer, you need to take the time to do your own research. You need to check your equipment before you leave and always clean all of your gear and weapons to ensure they work correctly in the field.
You should never be afraid of completing a refresher either. Practice hunting courses can be of benefit to new hunters and veterans. Taking the time and effort to prepare for your hunt will ensure that it is more successful.
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