Is it too early to hang Stands and set Blinds?
Photo by Bone Collector/BoneCollector.com
As the summer burns on, whitetail deer hunters cannot help but to get a little bit anxious. Trail camera photos begin to roll in with velvet bucks posing in the night, fall food plots begin to hit the ground, and treestands and blinds inevitably take their places.
The likelihood of finding a consensus agreement on when is the best time to officially hang your treestands and place your blinds is about as likely as finding consensus in modern politics. You're just not going to find a commonly agreed time where all deer hunters agree it's best to set up your locations for the upcoming deer season.
Some very passionate deer hunters will get a jump on all of the summer growth by hanging their stands and placing some blinds in the early spring. But let's be honest, treestands and ground blinds for deer season are not front of mind for most hunters when the season is over 8 months away. Nonetheless, hanging in February, March, or April can be a great tactic for the ultra-serious hunter.
Others believe that you should hang your treestands and set your blinds after you have observed deer activity on trail cameras and while scouting. They say that food sources and patterns are constantly evolving, and they are not wrong. In all reality, you probably won't hurt anything by waiting until the late summer to observe and then place your stands or blinds. A lot of hunters hang stands in August or early September and still have success.
Heck, a lot of hunters hang a stand in the middle of the season and have incredible success. It probably boils down to hanging the correct stand or placing your blind in the right spot more than when you do it. Contrary to what a lot of fanatics in the whitetail world may believe, you can get away with hanging sets and placing blinds pretty close to deer season.
However, there are some considerations to make if you are attempting to hang and set in the month of July. Let's hit on a few.
Simply put, hanging your stands and setting your blinds extremely early is a roll of the dice. Even on a property that you have hunted for decades, food sources and movement patterns can change. A lot of things can change from year to year. Especially if you like to plant food plots and do extensive management projects to better your hunting. The movement you observed last season is not guaranteed to be the same this year. You would hate to hang a stand or erect some kind of permanent blind over one food source to find that it has burned out and the deer prefer a new food source. With all of this being said, some properties will remain the same. If you have one of those spots, you know it. In that case, the earlier the better. There are certain places that deer just have to be and love to be. When you have that kind of spot, establishing your hunting location early and letting it settled is a great idea. July might be a fantastic time to go in and get it done.
If you're trying to get on big deer in an area with high levels of human intrusion and hunting pressure, hanging early may be a great idea. This consideration is often overlooked until it comes to hunting season and we worry about actual hunting pressure, but human intrusion is a factor year-round. If you know for a fact that every hunter in the county hangs their stand around mid-August or just before the season, it might be a great idea to beat everyone to the punch. Don't forget about what we discussed above, but it's always best to be the property with the lowest levels of intrusion and pressure. When all of the other folks are scurrying to set things up, deer can take refuge on your piece of ground that is all set and ready. There is something to be said about being the early bird.
Know Your Food Sources
We touched on this in the first point, but it's worth repeating. Food sources and eating patterns are probably the number-one reason why there is not a consensus on when the best time is to hang and set. Food sources vary so greatly across the country that no two properties are the same. No two properties in the same county are going to be the exact same. You have to familiarize yourself with what the deer are eating now, but you also have to look into the future. Where will deer be eating in October, November, or December? You have to know what the agricultural scene in your neck of the woods looks like. Are you or surrounding neighbors planting food plots? How is the mast crop looking? These are all massive considerations when it comes to hanging a stand or setting a blind. A lot of folks make the mistake of hanging and setting for where the deer are eating in June, July, or August. You have to see into the future a bit to get it right. Know your particular area and know it well.
Make a Return Trip
If you know your area well enough to hang early, congratulations. You are probably well on your way to killing a nice deer this fall. But don't sit back and think that you have all of your local hunting buddies beat. There's a slight perk to being late to the party when it comes to hanging stands and setting blinds, and it has to do with vegetation. It should go without saying that your treestand location will look incredibly different if you set it up in the early spring. It will look like another world. Even if you hang in July and trim your shooting lanes now, you can count on continued growth and change. It would be silly to hang a stand super early and expect to arrive in archery season with flawless shooting lanes. A lot can change in the summertime. You don't have to come and check up on your stand weekly, but make at least one return trip to confirm that everything looks like you want it to. There's absolutely nothing worse than setting up stands or blinds and returning to find a completely different situation than you expected.
There are obviously a lot of considerations to make when it comes to hanging treestands and placing blinds. Things will change drastically from region to region, public to private, and from treestand to ground blind or box blind. There is no exact textbook.
Is it too early to hang and set? Absolutely not. Is it too late to hang and set in August or even September? Nope.
Just make sure your information is correct in either scenario, know your deer herd, and make sure that your location is proper before heading in to hunt.
With those simple considerations, you can't go wrong.