John's Journal...

Advanced Tree Stand Strategies

How David Hale Hunts Hot Spots from a Tree stand


Editor’s Note: Paying attention to small details will spell success when tree stand hunting. The sportsman who knows where and why a trophy buck will hold and move during daylight hours often bags more deer from a tree stand than from a ground blind. Try these advanced tree-stand tactics from David Hale of Cadiz, Kentucky, a co-developer of Knight and Hale Game Calls, this season and you may take the buck of a lifetime.


Unlike Paul Meeks (see Day 3), David Hale hunts spots to take deer from his tree stand where he may not see trails entering or exiting these places or bucks in the area. However, he believes hunting these sites will help you bag the biggest bucks in the region. "I look for deep, dark, shady hollows with plenty of cover," Hale advises. "Initially, you'll see no reason for a large buck to frequent these hollows. However, when you go into these hollows, you'll discover deer droppings but perhaps no deer food. Bucks come to these kinds of places for sanctuary and to loaf. On cold, windy days the hollows provide shelter from storms and shelter and cool temperatures on hot days. The bucks can stand up, walk around and move in these areas without fear of hunting pressure. If a hunter climbs either side of the ridge, the buck easily can exit the bottom of the hollow or remain in this hidden sanctuary. But usually no hunter will climb into one of these ravines to search for deer. Since bucks arrive in these hollows to dodge hunting pressure in the middle of the day, I put up my tree stand the day I'm hunting and hunt from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m in hollows."

If Hale doesn't locate a trophy buck in one of these deep-hollow loafing spots, he'll then hunt trails in the mornings or the afternoons. But Hale doesn't hunt the main trails most hunters take. He hunts secondary trails 20 to 50 yards off the main trails. "Older-age class bucks rarely use the main trail other deer take," Hale reports. "The older-age class buck trail generally looks dim and lies well away from the main trail. I'll take a stand about 20- to 50-yards away from secondary trails." Hale also has developed a tactic to force large deer to come to him. "Big bucks and most deer hunters have one thing in common – neither wants to expend any more time or energy than required to be successful," Hale says. "The trophy buck most often takes the easiest route around obstacles. "I've learned by taking camouflage netting into an area where I expect to find a trophy buck, I can create a funnel with the netting. If perhaps a 100-yard bottleneck lies between a creek and a road, I can string the 3- to 4-foot-high camouflage netting from the edge of the road to within 30 yards of the edge of the creek. Deer easily can jump over the netting. But instead of jumping over it, 95 percent of the time the deer will walk around the netting. Using this tactic, I funnel deer in front of my tree stand and can place my tree stand where I want it, rather than where I must have it to get a shot at the deer." Hale suggests tying the netting from tree-to-tree, two to three weeks before you hunt, to have the most success with this tactic. If you own property where you can funnel deer near a lake, a creek or a stream, you have the advantage of going to and from your tree stand by water. This strategy will leave less human odor and force the deer to funnel around your tree stand without their spooking.


Tomorrow: Why Stay Away From The Deer


Check back each day this week for more about " Advanced Tree Stand Strategies"

Day 1: What To Do With A New Tree Stand
Day 2: Where To Put Your Tree Stand
Day 3: When To Use Different Types Of Tree Stands
Day 4: How David Hale Hunts Hot Spots from a Tree stand
Day 5: Why Stay Away From The Deer


Entry 372, Day 4