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The lowest you can go?

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The lowest you can go?

Postby Jhg » 10 10, 2018 •  [Post 1]

I have 4 stands but never use them. I am not a fan of high stand placement, not because I am afraid of heights ( I run a tree biz, high up in trees is part of the game) but I do not like the shot angles high placement affords. High placement for me is above 15 foot.
I think I read somewhere that (swede?) success out of a tree stand increased significantly after the hunter raised his stand placements above 15 feet. As a way to try to get us all on the same page in regards to actual heights, it is my experience people generally over-estimate how high a tree is, or how high up in a tree they are.

So if you can explain how you know your stand placement is 20 foot or 30 foot high beyond guessing, that will help greatly. That way I can take it as fact. Thanks, I appreciate it.
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Re: The lowest you can go?

Postby Swede » 10 10, 2018 •  [Post 2]

I make a lot of ladders to make it easier to go up and down a tree. For some reason I have decided a 17 foot ladder is right for me. Those are measured. If I use dry poles I can lean it standing against a tree by myself. I go up from there on five screw in tree steps. My steps are about 18 inches apart. I have been chewed on for putting them so far apart, and sometimes I get a little more carried away. I like to have three points of contact at all times when ascending and descending a tree even though I use a safety line. Sometimes that is a stretch. The safety line is 35 feet long. It helps me estimate my height too. For example if the tree is 16 inches diameter at the location I hang the line one foot above my head, and the line does not touch the ground, but I can secure it to the bottom rung of the ladder, I am about 25 feet up.
I was a timber cruiser in an earlier life, and had to measure trees for many years. Part of what I have written in the past is just an estimate, but I believe I am accurate within a couple of feet. When I claim to be xx feet high, I will include the extra height I get from going upslope from where I expect to see an elk. I am adding elevation difference and stand height. I rarely set up on a lower elevation.

The kill area on an animal is just as large when shooting down. as shooting on the level, but there are some things to be careful about. I do not care to get a double lung hit. That is not important as you are not deflating balloons. You are severing arteries and veins. You need to get into the chest cavity near the heart. Roosiebull and I had an interesting discussion about some problems we have had shooting downward. You can read that on the Gear/Weapons Forum on a top thread about "Hunting Arrows-My Thoughts". I hope this helps too.
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Re: The lowest you can go?

Postby Swede » 10 10, 2018 •  [Post 3]

Jhg, You can obviously go to ground level and be successful at getting elk. I have found going high helps with scent removal from your area, and helps you be hidden. There is no magic height for that. In a basin or draw I like to be higher up a tree than on a ridge.
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Re: The lowest you can go?

Postby Jhg » 10 14, 2018 •  [Post 4]

Swede, I think I will scout this next summer for some placements that take advantage of elk feeding routes. There are several I have found where it would IMO be much more productive to place a stand in that zone rather than at the wallows nearby. Reason being wallows don't always allow good placement- wind issues maybe, or tree placement and limb cover etc.

One thing I enjoy about stand or blind hunting is "listening to the country". Aggressive call hunting is not exactly a method that allows for a lot of that. Its more a "hunt through" kind of method. Its very nature is moving fast.

Sometime its nice to slow down and get contemplative in the elk woods. That is one of the reasons I am out there. Don't take that to mean I am casual about success. Not true. I hunt hard and take it very seriously.
Anyway, these "feed tunnels" are such that I always thought they would be perfect for a stand and its amazing how often the elk travel through them rather than nearby.
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Re: The lowest you can go?

Postby Swede » 10 14, 2018 •  [Post 5]

I love tree stand hunting, but it can wear you out too. I like your tunnel idea, and posted about it on the elk forum. I got a small bull last year in a saddle. They are similar to funnels and they too can be excellent places to ambush an elk. Show me a good funnel, and I will gladly wait there.
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Re: The lowest you can go?

Postby Jhg » 10 17, 2018 •  [Post 6]

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00404_2JbVKeCRyRB_600x450.jpg (26.33 KiB) Viewed 1067 times
My other issue will be (I think) that my bow is a 64 inch long static recurve like the ones they made in the '60's. I need to get in my stands and learn what I can and cannot expect from that aspect. I will just have to work within the limitations, whatever they may be.
I truly love hunting with this type of bow, so that is not going to change.
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Re: The lowest you can go?

Postby Swede » 10 17, 2018 •  [Post 7]

I knew a man that used a re-curve in a tree stand. I would guess you would need some more practice shooting from your stand height to get accustomed to the difference. One nice thing is that you can set your stand where there are smaller openings around your stand. The areas with long shots are no advantage. Where I got my elk this year would be perfect for a re-curve hunter.
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Re: The lowest you can go?

Postby Jhg » 10 18, 2018 •  [Post 8]

My stands are a gorrilla, a rivers edge?, and 2 older aluminum ones that have semi triangular platforms. These are supposed to be highly regarded if you mod the seat. The seat is like a folding directors chair but very narrow. It opens toward the platform so it really challenges your commitment to tree stand hunting!
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Re: The lowest you can go?

Postby Swede » 10 18, 2018 •  [Post 9]

I have a couple of Gorilla Tree Stands. They are comfortable and quiet enough. I don't like setting them up of taking them down. I do not use foul language, but they temp me at times.
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Re: The lowest you can go?

Postby Old school » 11 15, 2018 •  [Post 10]

For me it all depends on the terrain and cover. Most of my deer I have killed have come from a treestand and I think I can count one on hand the number of them where I was in a stand over 15' up. In my experience it has more to do with blending in with the cover and not being above or below it. It also has to do with stand placement relative to big game approach - prevailing winds, thermals, position of the sun, etc...

When it comes to experience though, Swede has me beat :-)

--Mitch
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Re: The lowest you can go?

Postby Swede » 11 15, 2018 •  [Post 11]

Old school wrote:When it comes to experience though, Swede has me beat


When it comes to elk hunting only, that is probably true, but that is all. I would take Whitetail hunting lessons from you. I started out planning my tree stand hunts by reading what I could from Whitetail hunters like yourself. Over time, I found out there are differences. One of the differences is due to the mountainous terrain effecting the thermals. Some of what I do is based on the wild land fire behavior training I received with the Forest Service. I doubt they thought the information they were sharing could, or would be applied to tree stand hunting. The other differences I would attribute to the animals themselves.
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Re: The lowest you can go?

Postby Old school » 11 16, 2018 •  [Post 12]

Had another buck shot from a skyscraper yesterday. My youngest son shot a pretty nice 10 point from a stand in a walnut tree. The stand is not even 10’ high. Has everything to do with cover and direction of approach. This is once again whitetail and not elk.

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Re: The lowest you can go?

Postby Swede » 11 16, 2018 •  [Post 13]

One thing to consider when deciding how high to go is the approach of the elk. If you are on a hillside and the elk may come in from above, you can be on the same level or even lower than the elk. On the other hand, if you are on a ridge and in the limbs where you have cover, 10 feet can be plenty. I usually go 15 feet or higher, but it is not necessary is all situations. Consider the thermals at your stand site and how easy it will be for the elk to spot you.
Another thing to consider, though not related to being detected, is the sun. I like have some morning sun. It is nice to catch a few rays when you are chilled. In the afternoon it is nice to have some shade. I always sacrifice comfort if the alternative is a better location to get an elk from.
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Re: The lowest you can go?

Postby Elkslayer » 08 10, 2019 •  [Post 14]

I have harvested 22 elk with my bow. Seven on ground and 15 from a stand. Swede is most correct. I place all my stands @ 20 feet. Having back ground cover is most important of all. In Az we have so much burnt forest it's hard to find a good tree stand placement. This is the first year my wife will hunt out of a stand I am setting it @ 15 feet for her sake. It's on a slope, the elk will be coming form below, and wind is favorable for the morning hunt. 14 cow elk were hanging around the area last week We are meat hunters and hunt mostly cows. we are not beginner elk hunters, we know where they will be and when they will be there. We get into elk every day of the hunt. I rarely hunt a stand in the evening because I like the action on the ground. I have placed tree stands in the wrong places so many times. that's why I'm good at it now. My wife's tree stand is only 100 yards from the road. She dose not want to get lost. that is her biggest fear. she will see all the traffic go by but they will not be able to see the elk. Two years ago I had a stand about 200 yards from a bedding area and they passed me by twice. so I set my stand right in the middle of the bedding area @ 15 feet on a slope so that put me about 20 high where I planed to shoot. It was a wise decision. 30 feet in a tree stand is a long way down. After harvesting elk at that height, if moved it down 10 feet, had success the next year also no problem. If you are on level ground 20 ft will carry your scent over their heads. i have had swirley winds and have harvested 3 elk out of a stand like that. I hope this helps some one.
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Re: The lowest you can go?

Postby Swede » 08 11, 2019 •  [Post 15]

I like reading from your experience and perspective Elkslayer. You can add a lot to this tree stand forum. Keep posting. It may help your wife to have a good safety line to attach to on the ground, and stay connected to until she has both feet firmly back on good old terra firma. I know it adds to my feeling of security. I get mine from Cabelas.
It is interesting reading the observations from an Arizona hunter. I only wish I could see elk every day from my stand. I see them about once a week where I am hunting now days. The elk are just traveling through, and if you are not there, or if you mess up it is too just bad for you. Better luck next week.

BTW: Welcome to the WapitiTalk forum Elkslayer. Feel free to join in wherever you feel like it.
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Re: The lowest you can go?

Postby ABQ_Chica » 08 14, 2019 •  [Post 16]

Yes, welcome to the forum Elkslayer! Thanks for your perspective. I wanted to second the lifeline/safety line suggestion, if you and your wife don't already use one. I hunted from a stand for the first time a few years ago, and I didn't really feel confident and secure until I started using a lifeline. They are worth every penny, in my experience--especially when I was new to the stand and nervous about being off the ground.

At any rate, I wish your wife luck and hope she enjoys hunting from a stand. And I hope you continue to share your experiences here!
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Re: The lowest you can go?

Postby Elkslayer » 08 14, 2019 •  [Post 17]

I had never used safety equipment while in a tree stand. Last year a local resident fell out of his tree stand and died. A local Dr fell out of his tree stand and is now confined to a wheelchair. So I have bough two harness sets for each of us with live wire safety let down. I learned a new knot called prusik knot, bought her a ladder even though she has a climber. I used to just tie a rope around my waist and tree and call it good. Not any more! I really love putting tension on the rope I'm tied off with and leaning out over the edge to make the shot. It is such a rush. I want to clear up something. I don't see elk every day in a tree stand. That's why I hunt the evening on the ground, that's when we get into elk every day. A lot of times bulls come in and no cow, it's fun taking pictures. All are satellite bulls, some are pretty big and some are spikes.
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Re: The lowest you can go?

Postby Swede » 08 15, 2019 •  [Post 18]

I know we are getting a long ways from the thread title, but I am curious why you hunt on the ground in the evening? I would hunt on the ground in the morning, and wait in my stand in the afternoon/evening where I have hunted. That said, I have stands that seem a little more productive in the morning, but I can always go to more productive evening spots.
I am glad you guys are using a safety line. I too am tied in with a prussic knot supplied with my Hunter Safety System lines. I have six lines now, so that even friends that hunt with me are going to be safe if they climb into a stand.
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