Aggressive Treestand Tactics for Whitetails

(Drew Pellman photo)
(Drew Pellman photo)

It was a no-brainer – my game camera told the tale – at least a half-dozen shooters were cycling past my treestand every day. I was thrilled, as I had hung this stand specifically for the chase phase of the rut, but I simply couldn’t get the wind I needed to make an all-day sit. Yes, there were a few days when the wind was borderline, but I opted to wait. Then, just like that, it was over.

Lockdown hit my home woods hard, and my once smoking-hot stand turned ice cold. I had waited too long and missed my window of opportunity. I told myself it was just bad luck, and that there was nothing I could have done differently, but I knew I was only kidding myself. Honestly, what good is a perfect stand if you never sit it? So during the off-season, I vowed to never let this happen again. And since making that decision, it has paid off in spades. So, here’s how I find the perfect chase-phase stand, stay scent free and get aggressive when the time is right.

The Great Game Camera

I realize game camera use is nothing new – bowhunters use them every year – but I have discovered a proven tactic that continually puts me in the right place when big bruisers start cruising hard for estrous does.

For starters, sit down and rack your brain about whitetail seasons past. Think about areas where you know big bucks have sought out does. Then, pull up Google Earth or an aerial map and analyze the terrain features. These features will give you further insight into why the areas you’re looking over are hot zones for big bucks. Now wait for the “October lull,” and then go hang a few game cameras in your predicted hotspots. I recommend waiting for the lull to hang cameras to cut down on foot traffic.

The goal is to keep your kill stands as fresh as possible. You will also want to hang a few observation stands where you can see lots of ground. Now it’s time to be passive – checking trail cameras only during non-peak movement hours – and taking extreme scent-elimination measures when doing so. This includes not touching any vegetation or your cameras with exposed skin. You will also want to spend time in your observation stands keeping tabs on deer movement. Use the combination of your scouting cameras and hands-on recon to tell you just when to strike.


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