By Alex Comstock
Every year I seem to make the same claim, but am never able to follow through with tangible action. Spring usually comes with the aspirations of getting stands hung and ready for the fall, but I seem to always make excuses to not get it done, and find myself wishing I had on a hot buggy, summer day. It can be debated whether or not it is beneficial to hang stands in the spring, instead of the summer or early fall. But in the right situation, hanging stands right now can pay big dividends come deer season.
1. You Can Get Ahead of The Game: I don't know about you, but it seems to me there is always an insurmountable amount of "stuff" we need to do in order to be prepared for deer season. Whether it be stands, trail cameras, mineral sites, summer scouting, getting all of your gear organized, you name it, there's a lot to do. By getting stands up this time of the year, you can save yourself some work in the summer, and not have to worry about getting stands up in areas you know you're going to hunt.
This past weekend, I was able to get a few stands up in areas I know that produce mature buck movement during the rut. Instead of worrying about getting those stands up in the summer, I can now focus on new areas, and I know those stands will be ready to go.
2. The Timber Looks The Same: This follows along the same line of thought that comes with spring scouting. Timber, crop fields, pretty much all of the outdoors looks vastly different in the summer than it does in the fall. Right now, you can take advantage of getting stands up with the foliage being about the same as it will be come October/November.
By having the deer woods look similar to what it will in the fall, a few things can help aid you in having a better stand setup. The most important thing that helps is when it comes to shooting lanes and cover in the tree. Have you ever hung a stand in the middle of the summer, cut a bunch of shooting lanes, cut a little cover out of the tree for shooting and visual purposes, and it looked perfect? Then you arrive back to the stand to hunt come hunting season, and there's absolutely no cover in the tree, and it looks like you clear cut the area? I know this has happened to me more than once. What usually happens is that during the summer, it can be really tough to tell on what you need to cut, and what you don't need to cut with how thick everything is. You end up cutting way more than you need to, and then come fall, once the leaves are all gone, everything is much more exposed than you thought.
3. It Can Reduce Pressure: Reducing pressure on deer, especially mature bucks should always help to encourage daylight movement. By hanging stands now, you eliminate the need to have to infiltrate an area, and spend an extended period of time in there closer to season. In the few areas that I've already got stands up and ready to go, I will probably still throw a couple trail cameras up, but by having the stand already in place, it allows the ability to slip in and slip out, hopefully undetected. I can put the camera up, and then leave it be for a month or so, and choose a day with the right conditions to quickly slip in and check the card. Once fall arrives, I can select the right day, and head in to hunt the stand whether that be opening night, or in the middle of November. By hopefully reducing the pressure with this tactic, I will be encouraging daylight movement as there will be virtually no human pressure from me put on the deer.
Conclusion: Hanging stands in the spring isn't always the right action. There are certain situations where being mobile, and hanging and hunting might prove to be the best option, especially if you don't know exactly where you want a stand. But, with that said, if you have a pre-identified tree selected, and know where you want a stand come deer season, don't hesitate to put up a stand now.