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How to Pick a Treestand Site
 

How to Pick a Site for a Tree Stand
EDITOR'S NOTE: Brad Harris, of Neosho, Missouri, the vice president in charge of public relations for Outland Sports, the mother company of Lohman's and M.A.D. Calls as well as API tree stands and other outdoor products, has hunted deer avidly for three decades. He knows where to put tree stands up to give hunters the best opportunity to take bucks.
Question: Brad, we know what an avid deer hunter you are. Tell us what you've learned about the fine points of hanging tree stands to help other hunters have more success bagging deer.
Answer: The first thing I search for in a place to put up a stand is deer sign. Because we hunt bucks, we look for scrapes and rubs, which indicate bucks in an area and their sizes. Then we look for general deer sign such as tracks and droppings to see how many other deer are in the vicinity. Then we look for things that will channel or funnel deer, such as benches, fingers or points coming together, or spots in the woods that will funnel deer through narrow patches of woods. I try to put all these factors together and see what the deer situation is. The next and most important thing is deciding what wind is best for the stand and positioning the stand to give hunters the opportunity to see deer and get a shot when the deer come through that section of land.
Question: So you always hunt into the wind?
Answer: I always make sure the wind blows away from where the deer will come and blow hopefully into the hunter's face.
How to Select a Tree Stand
EDITOR'S NOTE: Brad Harris, of Neosho, Missouri, the vice president in charge of public relations for Outland Sports, the mother company of Lohman's and M.A.D. Calls as well as API tree stands and other outdoor products, has hunted deer avidly for three decades. He knows where to put tree stands up to give hunters the best opportunity to take bucks.
Question: Brad, I know Outland Sports owns API tree stands, a company that makes all kinds of tree stands -- ladders, fixed-position stands and climbing stands. How will you advise someone to choose a tree stand?
Answer: The first two things to consider are what makes you comfortable as a hunter and your physical abilities. If you're fairly agile, aren't afraid to climb and you like a portable stand, consider using a smaller platform stand such as a lock-on, a chain-on or strap-on stand. If you're less agile and feel more comfortable climbing something steadier and sturdier, then plan to use a ladder-type tree stand, where you easily can climb up to 10, 12 or 14 feet and sit on a platform. Those stands are very comfortable and safe. They're easy to get into and out of, and they offer very secure shooting. Also, you need to think about the types of trees on the property you'll hunt. The Ozarks, the big North woods and big river bottoms often have large, straight oaks, sycamores and cottonwoods that will enable you to climb as high as you want. But if you hunt in Kansas, in some of the panhandle country or in south Texas, for example, the trees aren't as large and aren't very straight. For a more crooked, smaller tree, you may need a ladder or a tripod-type stand.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Brad Harris, of Neosho, Missouri, the vice president in charge of public relations for Outland Sports, the mother company of Lohman's and M.A.D. Calls as well as API tree stands and other outdoor products, has hunted deer avidly for three decades. He knows where to put tree stands up to give hunters the best opportunity to take bucks.
Question: What's your favorite type of tree stand, and why?
Answer: My favorite tree stand is a chain-on or a strap-on portable stand. I like these types of stands because they allow me to climb trees with limbs. I can find a section of the tree at the height I want that's flat enough or straight enough to allow me to get among the limbs and hang the stand. That gives me a lot more concealment than a straight tree with no limbs does. I also like smaller stands because they usually fit a variety of trees. You don't need a totally straight tree; you just need a section of the tree to be straight -- maybe 2 feet or so. Third, and very important, is the size of the stand. I like the smaller stand because it keeps me from moving a lot. You may think that's not good, and in a sense it may not be if you're not comfortable with that. But, if I'm not moving around as much, I'm not going to alert as many deer. Since, I've become accustomed to setting up and sitting in a small stand, I know how much room I have and I adjust my techniques and style to that. Another advantage to using a smaller stand is that it is less conspicuous than a larger one.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Brad Harris, of Neosho, Missouri, the vice president in charge of public relations for Outland Sports, the mother company of Lohman's and M.A.D. Calls as well as API tree stands and other outdoor products, has hunted deer avidly for three decades. He knows where to put tree stands up to give hunters the best opportunity to take bucks.
Question: Brad, you said yesterday that you like small tree stands -- the lock-on, chain-on, latch-on type. Those tree stands are usually the most difficult to put in a tree. How do you get those stands into trees safely so you don't have any problems?
Answer: By far, the easiest and safest way is by using Climbing Sticks from API. You can stack the ladders together. They strap to the tree every 4 feet with a cinch-type buckle. Once you get them in, they're solid and allow easy and quiet climbing. I also like to use them with Climbing Steps, which you screw into the tree. If I'm in a tree with green, secure limbs, I can use limbs to climb and put steps where I need them. The most important thing is a quality belt, and API makes a belt designed for hanging tree stands. It has pouches to hold steps, and the safety strap harnesses each hip. It comes off one hip, goes around the tree and snaps quickly to the other hip, and that keeps your weight balanced.
As I climb, I wrap the belt around a tree and hook it, and it keeps me square with the tree. I have everything I need: the saw, the pouch with all the steps and ropes, as well as a secure strap that is built to keep me square with the tree, which is very important. You never want to climb a tree stand without a safety belt, particularly when you hang steps or stands. Once I get to where I'll place the stand in the tree, I make sure the belt is secure and strapped in. Then I haul the stand up and hold it against the spot where I want to place it. API has a T-hook that you screw into the tree and use to pull the stand up and set it in place. This T-hook holds the weight for you while you pull the strap around and cinch it up.
Question: So the real secret a lot of people fail to realize when putting on a strap-on or a chain-on stand is using a safety belt to put the steps in as they go up?
Answer: Right. A lot of guys don't use a safety belt as they go up a tree to tie a knot or put in safety steps. You need to use a safety belt because if you make a mistake, an accident will happen. You also need to use a safety belt while getting in and out of your stand. When I get ready to step up into my stand, I lengthen my belt so I don't have to unhook it. The length allows me to move from the step to the ladder or to the stand and still have the safety belt around the tree. If you make any mistakes getting in or out, the safety belt will catch you.
The Secret to Being Comfortable in Your Tree Stand
EDITOR'S NOTE: Brad Harris, of Neosho, Missouri, the vice president in charge of public relations for Outland Sports, the mother company of Lohman's and M.A.D. Calls as well as API tree stands and other outdoor products, has hunted deer avidly for three decades. He knows where to put tree stands up to give hunters the best opportunity to take bucks.
Question: Brad, what's the secret to hunting comfortably from a tree stand?
Answer: The secret to being comfortable in your tree stand is taking the time to put it in right, and that's where many hunters fail. I fail sometimes at that, too. I may hang 50 stands a year, and I push myself sometimes, thinking, "Okay, I've got to hurry up and get this one in because I've still got three or four more to put up today." I can tell you that the key to hanging a stand properly is taking your time and putting your stand in right. Put it in square, and make sure it's level, tight and secure. See that all four points -- two at the top and two at the bottom -- touch the tree and are placed solidly into the tree so that there is no give. When you get into the stand, take time to trim away the limbs that may give you problems. You don't want a limb sticking you in the back or a limb about head-high that forces you to bend every time you look under it. I think most hunters get in a big hurry when putting in a stand, and they forget the small details that will cause problems. Take care of all that when you put in the stand. Then when you go back to set up, it'll be ready to go. Also, make sure you have a good seat, such as a foam seat, because you can't stay comfortable sitting on a straight bar or a straight bench seat. Once you get a comfortable tree stand, you'll be able to stay in it longer, and your success rate will go up with bagging deer.
Question: I notice you carry an extendible pruning saw with you. Tell me about that.
Answer: That's one of the best things I've ever found. It's an extendible saw with a 6-foot handle and a second 6-foot handle that slides inside the first one. I can extend the second handle, tighten the knuckle and have a 12- to 14-foot saw. I carry handsaws for limbs I can reach, but there always seems to be a limb blocking my shot that's just out of hand reach. With the extendible saw, I can cut a limb that's 10 feet from my stand.
I also can use it from the ground. With a 12-foot saw, I can cut limbs 15 to 20 feet off the ground that are at an angle from an 18-foot tree stand. At different angles, depending on the distance, this saw easily reaches some of the limbs 10 or 12 feet off the ground that I can't reach by hand. I carry this tool with me every time I set up a tree stand. It's worth its weight in gold.



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