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October 12, 2023
min read

How To Determine What Is The Best Hunting Setup

How do you determine the best hunting setup for opening day - or even your next hunt? Is it always the same? Or, are you willing to make some changes in your setup that may or may not add to your success? Keep reading if you want some more ideas!

As I sit here writing this, the sun is setting on a spectacular day.

This day is different depending on which state, or even which area of the state you are located. It can also vary depending on your method of take and, in some states, based on a lottery system.

Whatever the scenario - the state, the area of the state, or each different method of harvest - they all have one thing in common...

The anticipation that comes with Opening Day!

And that's where I sit today - opening day eve for the North Carolina Bow Season. I'm not sure that describing it as being as excited as a kid on Christmas morning would really even do it justice.

It's been about nine months since I've sat in the woods awaiting that familiar sound of methodical steps that hopefully won't turn out to be another squirrel.  

The anticipation of what could come walking by is always high as a new season begins. Is this really the setup I need for success this season?

With so many opportunities awaiting this fall, it all starts tomorrow! Of course, for so many of us, it never really stopped. If I'm not hunting, I'm thinking about hunting and what I can do to get ready for the next time I get to go.

There's always something to be done year-round when you're a hunter.

That brings us to the question I really would like to try answering this evening. What really is the best setup for killing a deer? Is there a best setup?

Last year on the eve of opening day, I was eager with this same type of anticipation. Images of sugarplums and dancing - or maybe it was velvet bucks running through my mind - seemed to keep me awake most of the night. Couple that with a completely new to me hunting setup and my excitement level was almost through the roof.

That new hunting setup included a Tethrd Phantom Saddle and Predator Platform that you've seen grow in popularity the past several years.

We put together a COMPLETE review of the Tethrd saddle system in case you haven’t seen it and are interested. 

Hunting from a Tethrd Phantom Saddle with a Predator XL Platform.

While I had been practicing with this setup in the backyard at home, it was the first chance I actually had to hunt from it.

Now, fast-forward one year and my plan for tomorrow morning is completely different.

I plan to be sitting comfortably in a camp chair, enclosed in a Primos Double Bull SurroundView Double Wide Ground Blind. Scott is coming over, and it should be an excellent opportunity for us to film harvesting a doe to get the season started. (Full Review of this Ground Blind Here).

Those are both great setups but also quite different than the way I grew up deer hunting.

As a kid, I spent most every opening day sitting in a four-foot square box stand we built from whatever extra lumber was lying around the house. It wasn't very high off the ground, but it was in a really good spot! 

Of course, once I was old enough to start mowing grass with my brother in the summer, I finally made enough money to buy a Summit Viper Climbing Stand that opened up a lot of options!

Not only could I now hunt from almost any straight tree on our property, I could climb as high as the tree would let me.

As I reminisce of opening days in the past and what each different setup was, I can’t help but try to think of which one was the best?

The funny thing is that even though each opening day brings the possibility of new setups and challenges of its own, I am always equally excited about that special day!

I find that no matter the setup, my level of anticipation and confidence in harvesting a deer from that setup is still higher than most any other day of the season!

But, how can that be?

Shouldn't there be a perfect, better, or best hunting setup for killing a deer on opening day or any day of the season thereafter?

Well, if you’ve been around Review This Thing for even a short amount of time, you know our answer to that question…it really depends.

It depends on your situation. It depends on what the deer are doing. It depends on the type and height of trees or available cover where the animals are actually living.

Here in North Carolina, it depends on what crop may be grown in the fields closest to you this year compared to last year. If a farmer switches from soybeans to cotton, the numbers of deer entering that agriculture field will likely significantly differ! 

It can even change the travel patterns of deer within three-quarters of a mile or more from that field. So don’t think that just because you hunted a beautiful hardwood ridge that produced a nice buck last year that you can go back to the exact same tree this year and take an even bigger buck.

So, with all the options and variables out there, how do you decide what will be your best setup for harvesting a deer on opening day of the season?

Loc-on / Hang on style stands can really help you get in almost any tree you want!

Should you hang a new Hawk Helium Hang On overlooking trails in a secluded corner of that huge soybean field that funnels out from a bedding area? If you haven’t had time to do a lot of pre-season scouting and know right where that bachelor group always seems to enter the soybeans, this could only be an observation sit. But, would that be better than risking changing their patterns?

Is your best option to hunt that transition area between hardwoods and thicker cover from a Summit Climbing Stand so you don’t have to walk deeper into the woods and bump deer as you go?

Or maybe your son is what you deem “old enough” to go hunting now and you’d rather be in a Rhino Ground Blind that will hide some of his movements. That way he gets to go with you, but you’re able to minimize the chances of his (and your) fidgeting limiting the numbers of deer that make it into bow range.

Ground Blind setups can really help hide movements and make it more enjoyable for younger / newer hunters.

This is where I would say refer back to the article from a few weeks ago – “Reclaim Success.”

You have to be willing to put the work in to make it happen. Examine the variables this season appears to be bringing you, don’t be afraid to try new setups, and get ready because opening day will be here before you know it!

If you missed opening day of bow season, don’t get all bent out of shape.

Opening day of black powder and opening day of rifle season are just around the corner! 

Of course, you could just go to the same stand you always go to or take your chances and go into an area you’ve never been or even scouted. But, understand that your results are most likely going to be tied to the effort given. 

To steal the advice of a good friend and introduce an article series possibly coming in the near future:

”Don’t be afraid to embrace the struggle.”

Embrace the struggle of opening day and accept the challenges that a new deer season is bringing to your doorstep!

Have fun hunting and don't forget to send us some of your pictures either via email or on social media. We love to see you out hunting and enjoying the outdoors.

Pros & Cons


Each new setup brings eager anticipation

Ground blinds can be great for hiding the movements of younger hunters

You may find your new favorite way to hunt


Could the new setup be wrong for what the deer will do this year?

New gear can be expensive


Should I Buy This Thing?

So how do we answer "Should I buy This Thing?" You know the depends! It depends on the situation. Don't be afraid to try something new that could add new adventures to your hunting season.

Written by

Robbie has enjoyed the outdoors since he can remember. His earliest memories include hours upon hours of squirrel hunting and learning how to enjoy all aspects of hunting season in God's wonderful outdoors. Now he is always working hard and testing gear in the field to give you the best review and most thorough information he possibly can.