By Alex Comstock
Summer is right around the corner. Summer can mean many different things for deer hunters, and among them is that it seems to be a time of year a lot of people like to be out scouting for where to hang their treestands the upcoming year. Now, this isn’t a bad idea, and can actually work quite well if you will be hunting during the early season while a lot of the conditions are the same as the summer. But what if you won’t be hunting that area until say late October or November? In this type of situation, I feel as though you should be out in the timber right now, scouting, picking trees for stands, and if you can, actually hanging the stands now. Here’s why.
Easier To See Fall Sign
If I know of an area that I am going to most likely hunt during the rut, I don’t want to be scouting and trying to figure out where I am going to hang a stand in the summer. In fact, I will more than likely just wait until I am actually going in to hunt during the fall, scout in-season, and then determine where to hunt. I find that to be more advantageous than summertime. But, if you can get out there during the spring, you can see all of the sign that was laid down last fall. Sure, there are factors that can change from year to year, but odds are if an area was hot during the rut last year, there is a good chance things will be hot once again the upcoming year.
By being able to see rubs, scrapes, and trails easier now than in the summer, it makes for a more advantageous time to be out in the timber getting things ready. In a lot of instances, I will spend this time of year doing a lot of scouting, and then marking on my OnX maps where I would like to hunt come fall. I don’t necessarily hang stands in all of these spots, just mark them down, so that when I come back in October or November, I will already have a base scout done, and will only have to reaffirm what I saw back in spring. In some cases, when I find an area that I know I need to have a stand, I will actually hang the stand, and get it all cleared out, and then not return until I hunt in the fall (make sure you check your local regulations, especially on public land on when you can legally hang stands).
You Can Make More of a Disturbance Right Now
What I especially like about looking for rut stand locations this time of year is that you can pretty much trample all over, and not really care what kind of disturbance you are making. If you find a perfect tree to put a stand in, go ahead, and limb it out, cut bigger shooting lanes, and maybe even cut a nice trail into the stand for your access. Do all of that now, because you won’t be able to get away with that as much come summer or fall. When it comes to fall, and I scout in-season like I mentioned above, I’m doing everything very stealthily. I don’t cut much, only what I really need to, and I’m very cognizant of any sign I leave behind. When it comes to right now though, I throw all of that out the window, and that can be very appealing to you as a hunter.
One of the worst things about hanging stands or scouting for treestand locations in the summer is no doubt the weather. Hot, humid, ticks and mosquitoes all come to mind. Simply put, if you can spend time right now scouting treestand locations while the temps are more mild and there’s not as many (or no) bugs, then it’s a win win situation. When it comes to the summer, I like the majority of my scouting to be done via trail cameras or through long distance scouting. I try to leave as much undisturbed in the summer as I can possibly allow.
Every situation is different, make no mistake about it. But if you have the ability to scout and prep treestand locations right now where you know you will be spending some time hunting come late October or November, then I strongly recommend you do it.