An afternoon hunt on public ground in the midwest got pretty exciting as the sun began to set. Robbie and I had hung a tree stand literally 3 hours before the buck walked into view. Read on to see what the right height for this treestand actually was.
This is a question I regularly ask myself when hanging a lock-on or using a climber. Quite honestly, the answer is - it just depends. It depends on how high you’re comfortable getting, what kind of cover you have, and what your available options are around good deer sign (rubs, scrapes, trails, etc).
In the few past years, Robbie and I have hunted quite a bit of public ground. Our gear to get up in a tree usually includes; 3 hawk helium sticks, a M100 millennium lock-on treestand, and a few Cranford EZY Climb Tree Steps with a strap. We can easily get at least 20 feet off the ground using this type of setup - or for me more like 15 (haha).
You are going to be surprised, when you read on, how high up in the tree I had to get to kill this particular buck.
We had spent most of the late morning and early afternoon scouting a large piece of public ground, and it was getting close to go-time. We needed to make a decision. Robbie had chosen a section of open hardwoods overlooking a creek bottom, hoping for a rutting buck to come through chasing a doe.
Based on our scouting, about 300 yards up the trail from Robbie's hardwood section, we came across a large thicket that was surrounded by CRP. There was a well worn deer trail leaving the thicket, and all I had to do was find an ambush spot.
As I looked around for a tree to put my lock-on in, it quickly became clear that there was only one option.
I started to work hanging the stand, and Robbie trimmed out a shooting lane.
I couldn’t get any higher due to numerous branches, and time was also running out. Robbie headed on down the trail to get in his climbing stand as I pulled my bow up and got ready.
Looking over my right shoulder, I had a great view of the CRP field. And, directly over my left shoulder was the trail exiting the thicket.
As it approached 5:00 in the evening and with the setting sun, all I had seen was a couple of smaller bucks heading into the thicket to check for a hot doe. Hoping to increase the action, I picked up my rattling antlers and banged them together a few times.
I didn’t even have time to put them down before a nice 8-point buck popped his head up about 100 yards out in the CRP.
As quickly as he popped his head up, his rack disappeared. I could tell he was headed for the thicket. I immediately began praying that he would head my way and tried to calm myself down.
A few minutes later I could hear footsteps behind me. Remember, I’m only about 7 feet off the ground, so I was literally afraid to move. I already had my bow in hand and kept checking out of the corner of my eye to see if it was the 8-pointer or one of the smaller bucks.
I took a deep breath, settled, and was finally able to draw back. With my bow fully drawn, I centered my 20-yard pin behind his front shoulder. He was quartered away from me pretty hard, and when I released the arrow, I saw it find its mark behind the last rib. The trusty Nockturnal was sticking out, as my arrow didn't completely pass through.
The buck immediately sprinted off, and I was pretty sure I heard him fall just up the trail from me out of my view.
My first 8-point buck with a bow, and it just so happened to be on public ground in the midwest.
The hang-and-hunt had worked to perfection! Just goes to show that when it’s early November, you never know what can happen! I got as high as that tree would allow, had great cover, and thankfully everything came together.
Robbie and I began the long drag out, and I couldn't help but be thankful.
Scott is an avid hunter and fisherman who loves spending time outdoors in God's creation. Most of all, he loves taking his two children along with him and introducing them into the great outdoors!
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