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Tree Stand Hunter Scouting

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Tree Stand Hunter Scouting

Postby Swede » 06 07, 2019 •  [Post 1]

Ok, tree stand hunters, tell me how, when and what you look for when scouting for what you plan to hunt.
I hunt elk from a stand. If something else comes by that I have a tag for I may shoot it, but I let a lot pass too. My scouting is totally aimed at elk.
This July I will be reviewing previous stand locations and searching out some new spots I see on G.E. or on a map. Partly I am looking at springs and partly just looking at elk travel ways. When I get to the woods I cover a lot of ground because I have no great tried and proven tree stand locator.
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Re: Tree Stand Hunter Scouting

Postby wawhitey » 06 08, 2019 •  [Post 2]

Scouting for my deer stands, obviously the most important thing is setting the stands where the bucks will actually show up, otherwise whats the point? So aside from that, i think my main considerations in choosing a stand sight are wind / thermals, and low impact ingress and egress. If ill be hunting a stand for a westerly wind, can i access it from an eastish direction without stomping all through a bedding area etc? Low impact in and out is huge. Regardless of what youre hunting, if your quarry is busting you on your way to your stand, theyre going to wise up real fast.
Real eyes realize real lies
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Re: Tree Stand Hunter Scouting

Postby Swede » 06 08, 2019 •  [Post 3]

Well said Whitey. I have found that timing can be important too if you need to access your stand from a certain direction. If I go there in the morning and the wind is wrong, every critter in the country is on notice, but if I wait until later I gen slip in unnoticed. E.g. following out a ridge and dropping down to my stand was a bad idea at daybreak with the winds all downslope. By waiting until the sun had warmed things, and the winds upslope, I could go in with no problem and sit the remainder of the day.
If we can change the direction of approach it can make a huge difference for some stand locations. E.g. Instead of coming in along the ridge; go up the canyon and then hike straight up to your stand to keep animals from scenting us.
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Re: Tree Stand Hunter Scouting

Postby ABQ_Chica » 06 28, 2019 •  [Post 4]

Our goal is usually to put stands near hubs of heavily-used game trails. Even though water is a priority, it's often overrun come hunting season, or the elk visit it nocturnally. The best hubs we've used are often not near water, but on the routes leading to it.

First we scan maps to find potential bedding areas and food/water spots, along with drainages, ridges, benches, and saddles.
Then we visit and hike around to see which of those areas elk seem to be using, or have used frequently.
After finding spots, we look for travel routes or any elements that funnel elk onto particular trails.
If spots seem promising, we'll check on them throughout the summer and weed out the duds.
When we settle on specific sites (and locate living trees--a growing challenge in NM's drought-stricken forests), then we micro-scout: check the morning and afternoon wind, locate shooting lanes, and make sure we're not going to be skylighted at sunrise or at eye level with elk coming over a saddle.
Finally, we chart workable AM and PM routes into and out of our stands that won't get us sniffed out or otherwise busted.

We've had to move a stand or two after season starts, but most of the time scouting leads us to pretty good areas overall. Google Earth and digital mapping services are invaluable for any hunter, but it takes boots on the ground to really zoom into a good stand site. I'm OK with that!
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Re: Tree Stand Hunter Scouting

Postby Swede » 06 29, 2019 •  [Post 5]

ABQ__Chica it sounds like you have had some of the same experiences I have had. After July 4th I will be heading out to scout my area. I am taking a chain saw to clean out some trash brush and trees that are blocking potential shooting locations. I will remove just enough to make a shot possible, but keep the area looking as natural as possible. I will also take a shovel to develop the springs a little.
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Re: Tree Stand Hunter Scouting

Postby Lefty » 07 07, 2019 •  [Post 6]

ABQ_Chica wrote:Our goal is usually to put stands near hubs of heavily-used game trails. Even though water is a priority, it's often overrun come hunting season, or the elk visit it nocturnally. The best hubs we've used are often not near water, but on the routes leading to it.

First we scan maps to find potential bedding areas and food/water spots, along with drainages, ridges, benches, and saddles.
Then we visit and hike around to see which of those areas elk seem to be using, or have used frequently.
After finding spots, we look for travel routes or any elements that funnel elk onto particular trails.
If spots seem promising, we'll check on them throughout the summer and weed out the duds.
When we settle on specific sites (and locate living trees--a growing challenge in NM's drought-stricken forests), then we micro-scout: check the morning and afternoon wind, locate shooting lanes, and make sure we're not going to be skylighted at sunrise or at eye level with elk coming over a saddle.
Finally, we chart workable AM and PM routes into and out of our stands that won't get us sniffed out or otherwise busted.

We've had to move a stand or two after season starts, but most of the time scouting leads us to pretty good areas overall. Google Earth and digital mapping services are invaluable for any hunter, but it takes boots on the ground to really zoom into a good stand site. I'm OK with that!


Good stuff !! Very similar to my expierinces with Idahos desert elk
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Re: Tree Stand Hunter Scouting

Postby ABQ_Chica » 07 08, 2019 •  [Post 7]

Lefty wrote:Good stuff !! Very similar to my expierinces with Idahos desert elk


Thanks! Glad to know this is useful in different terrain. To be fair, I should credit my generous hunting partners for imparting their vast hunting knowledge and experience to a greenhorn like me! Kinda like this forum, only I get to pick their brains in person. :D
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Re: Tree Stand Hunter Scouting

Postby Swede » 07 18, 2019 •  [Post 8]

I split my scouting time three ways this past week. My first points of interest was in going into well know spots and hanging cameras. I only put four out, but they should be helpful when I return and need to determine where to hang my stands. While at three locations My grandson dug out the water holes enough for the elk to get a drink. We were surprised to see one was getting hit within two days by a large bull. I also cut out three small trees that were in my way for shooting at one water hole. Tracks in the area were sufficient to get me fired up about my future prospects.
The other things I did was hike into new areas that were more isolated, and I spent some time just bonding with my grandson. I really want to pass on the things I know about hunting to him.
I will let you tree stand hunters in on a little secret. My tree stands will all be by major high use forest roads this season. The elk don't seem to mind the traffic, and because it is so heavily used, most hunters just pass on by. I looked at some areas well away from these high use areas, and elk use was significantly less. Go figure. Any theories?
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