Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Last Stand

The switch is thrown. For me September 1st is when the idea of hunting season starts to sink in. Weather is funny here, most years as soon as September hits temps drop by 10-20 degrees after our hot summers. This year we went from a record high on Thursday of over 100 to Sunday with a high of 57, a drop of 45 degrees. Not that we don’t have more hot patches but you know it is on the way out. Our bow season starts on the fourth Saturday of September so I am out getting the last things done in the woods, shooting more in the yard and of course checking equipment that doesn’t need checking.

Last weekend I made the trek to the mountain to put up my ladder stand that normally stays up all year. Last year I had one stolen nearby so the landowners went out and pulled this one for me and stored it all summer. This is a two man version that is the 15 foot size I think. Why don’t I know for sure how tall my stand is? Well, let me tell you.

Heading up Monteagle.

I see the “How high do I need to get in a tree to hunt?” debate all the time. I love seeing the folks that work in absolutes, “you HAVE TO hunt 20, 30, 50 feet off the ground or dire things will happen and you will never see a deer. You will be plagued by locusts and frogs, your children will be born naked, oh and you will NEVER see a deer. Ground hunters are wasting their time and shouldn’t be let out without adult supervision.”

Of course being me I love to poke a finger in the eye of the knowledgeable every chance I get and do with my stands, whether ladder or climbing, I rarely go over 10 feet up. Right now I have 2 ladder stands up in two different locations. The first is on my lease just down the road. It is a one man I picked up for around $60. I put it together like I do all of them then promptly took one section of the ladder and put it in the corner with the rest of the unused parts. Partly because of the area being so thick, partly because I didn’t want to be that high. Same thing with the 2 man stand, the top section of the ladder is sitting in the shop. Both of these stands I can almost reach the platforms standing on the ground and can standing on the first steps. 

Just about now I can hear the “got to get way up there” folks turning colors, which tickles me a bit. I have heard all the reasoning behind stand height but I kill just as many off the ground as I do from a tree, maybe more, so most of the argument is lost on me. But if their sets work for them that is great and I hope everyone thumps a bunch this year but me I will be low to the earth as usual.

Here are a few pics of my last one going up. I thought it was going to be more trouble than it was because I had no help but it went right up with only a couple of minor things getting in the way. After hauling it back to my tree I reattached the ladder, checked all of the straps, grabbed a handful of platform and walked it up to the tree. After a few adjustments getting the platform to the angle I wanted it was just a matter of tightening all the straps before climbing in to check everything.

I took the time to remove a couple of limbs but I have cleared this spot for several years so the lanes were in good shape. I did take a few minutes to pick a couple of trees for the camera to go in this season for the deer tour. Since I have never been on camera this was new to me. Luckily there are plenty of good trees in this area since it is mature hardwoods so if we need to move Rudy around it won’t take much.

One choice for Rudy is the tree just behind my truck to the right of the ladder.

The other choice for Rudy is the tree just to the left of the ladder.

So, there it is, the last stand. I still have my two Summit climbers for mobility if I want to move around but this set has given up 9 deer so far and I expect to take several more from it this year as long as I can get there to hunt. I have taken several from my other ladder stand and deer are using that spot heavily already. Normally it is a late season spot but this year they are there before season starts.

I hope everyone has a great season and stays safe. Whether you are on the ground or in a tree high enough for a nose bleed, have fun, be careful and be sure to let us know how you are doing during the season.


T. Chris said...

I completely agree with your stand hieght strategy. My personal rule of thumb is "don't go any higher than you are willing to fall!". Good luck bowhunting. My bow season doesn't start until October 1, so I am jealous!

Anonymous said...

Tommy you always get me laughin' with your rants (and your children will be born naked! ha!) but your right as far as I can tell. There is no magic height, just what height works for you.

Happy hunting and best of luck to ya! (Can't wait to watch ya on video!)

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Born and raised in middle Tennessee.I'm a working wildlife and landscape artist specializing in watercolors. Now making cedar lures and custom turkey calls.



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