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Trimming Branches

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Trimming Branches

Postby Swede » 03 31, 2021 •  [Post 1]

Last September I had patiently waited several days for an elk to come near my tree stand. Then one evening I could tell a whole herd was coming towards me. I got ready and waited. Suddenly the lead cow came through the trees, upslope from the base of my tree, and was headed straight in. She looked up and stared at me. Some other elk followed her into the little opening where I was waiting in a stand on the front edge of a small group of trees. Some were still back in the forest. I hoped and presumed a good bull was at the rear. All of the elk except that lead cow were oblivious to anything out of the ordinary. I relaxed a little when the lead cow came forward and started to get a drink at the spring. I could tell she was nervous as she would intermittently look up to verify I was still there. Just when I thought things might be going my way, she suddenly bolted for a few feet and trotted out of range taking the herd with her. It was another ten days before I had another elk opportunity.
Depending on the landscape, how and where the critters approach your stand location, and the cover you have around, you may or may not be easily spotted. Where I sat last season I did not have an effective cover.
A good tree stand location has several game trails coming together near you. That can make it difficult to guess where your animal is going to come from. So that I will not be spotted, I prefer to be in the shade or at least have good branches and foliage right behind me, even if I need to provide my own. The best is to have good cover to the side and behind. You want sufficient opening so you can shoot where you expect to see your game. There needs to be a good balance of cover and opening. Your cover does not need to be all in the tree where you have your stand.
I mostly hunt elk, but have not noticed a difference with deer or bears in that they don't recognize a difference between man made foliage and the natural stuff. The point is that you will do better when your outline is broken up by branches or man made materials so you are not easily recognized as a predator in the trees.
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Re: Trimming Branches

Postby 7mmfan » 03 31, 2021 •  [Post 2]

In the small amount of time that I've hunted in tree stands, I've been picked off by animals multiple times. Each time I was forced to set a stand in a less than optimal tree to hunt the location I wanted, and had little cover around me. I had animals walk out of the woods and instantly look up and see me even though I hadn't moved. These were areas that were not heavily hunted either. These animals were at ease and not pressured at all. Cover and outline breakup is very important.
I hunt therefore I am. I fish therefore I lie.
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Re: Trimming Branches

Postby Tigger » 04 01, 2021 •  [Post 3]

I have spent countless hours in a tree hunting whitetails. In addition to cover, movement and your eyes can give you away. Eyes shine. They move. I can watch the deer's eyes as easily as they can watch mine. Shade those eyes, and cover that face. get that gun or bow into position the second you see or hear game approaching. It rarely gets easier to move your bow or gun, only harder to do without getting busted.

Swede, for once, said something intelligent when he said he doesn't like being in the sun. It makes sense, which is baffling to me that Swede would think of it! :lol:

Then there are other days when you can literally do jumping jacks in your stand and not get noticed.
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Re: Trimming Branches

Postby Swede » 04 01, 2021 •  [Post 4]

I haven't noticed that my eyes are giving my presence away. I know I can get away with more movement in some stands than others. It seems to me it depends on my location and the critter's position. You can also spook game by making the wrong sound.
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Re: Trimming Branches

Postby Tigger » 04 02, 2021 •  [Post 5]

If I have whitetail deer close, say inside 20 yards, I have noticed they lock on your eyes pretty hard. They get a little antsy. If I squint or close the closest eye before they lock on, it is usually just a glance. These are deer i am not going to shoot and they often stay around a long time (hours) and bed near me. Fun to watch behavior and experiment. Twice I have crawled all the way down from my tree with deer inside 35 yards totally unaware. But the second you take that first step on the ground they are locked on you!
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Re: Trimming Branches

Postby sparkplug » 04 07, 2021 •  [Post 6]

Not sure if you are talking about concealing your ladder or platform or both. I have tried to trim branches from shooting lanes that I think the elk are going pass by. I have had them stand next to ladder and feed and also look at your ladder from 50 yards and change route. Having water close seems to be the main attraction and they pay less attention to anything else if they need to drink. Still learning,
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Re: Trimming Branches

Postby Swede » 04 08, 2021 •  [Post 7]

I build my ladders from poles I cut in the forest. They stay there year round. I have never had an elk, deer or bear pay any attention to one. The only thing I have had animals pay attention to was me. I have no experience watching animals from a distance to see if they were cautious about just my stand or ladder.
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