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Stand Hunting Versus Still Hunting

With the archery season well underway, it’s a pretty safe bet there are a good number of treestands that are occupied by archery enthusiasts, and for good reason — it’s a proven approach for taking a deer, especially with a bow. Archery hunting from the more permanent type of ladder stands or climbing treestands offer

With the archery season well underway, it’s a pretty safe bet there are a good number of treestands that are occupied by archery enthusiasts, and for good reason — it’s a proven approach for taking a deer, especially with a bow.

Archery hunting from the more permanent type of ladder stands or climbing treestands offer some definite advantages since bow hunting requires more movement and the added elevation helps conceal that movement.

Of course, another big advantage is the added height may also help to keep human scent away from your potential target. As all serious archery hunters know, there are other precautions that need to be taken as well, such as eliminating human scent as much as possible in your clothing and using whatever scents are legal to hide the human scent.

By the way, hunting from elevated stands is not just an archery thing since, come gun season, there will also be a good number of hunters perched in some type of elevated stand. Being able to hunt from an elevated position is definitely a lot easier and more efficient these days with the wide range of different types of treestands that are available. A lot of gun hunters have opted for the freestanding, enclosed stands with seating, shelves, and adjustable windows all the way around. I’ll have to admit, on a cold, rainy day or in the middle of a snowstorm, that would make a hunt a lot more enjoyable.

For those of us who have been involved in the archery hunting scene for a good number of years, when we look at what’s available to us today versus what we had to work with back in the 60s and 70s, it sometimes brings a little chuckle. Like a lot of others, in my early archery hunting years, I often climbed a tree with sufficient limbs and a limb or two to sit or stand on; I pulled my bow up with a rope, and I was all set for an evening’s hunt. I remember one such hunt when shortly after I got situated in my “stand,” a six-point buck walked right under my location, and I had my deer. I actually managed to take several deer from those make-shift treestands, albeit I sometimes got more sophisticated by adding a wooden plank and some wooden climbing rungs to the stand.

Certainly, hunting from a treestand has become a pretty standard approach these days, and for good reason-it’s effective, especially for those of us who hunt with the old standard compound bow. That being said, though, I’ll have to admit that I have also had some reasonable success still hunting, especially when hunting deer with a gun. Still, hunting is moving very slowly and quietly through the woods with frequent stops. The key is slowly and quietly; It may take me an hour or more to move a hundred yards or less. I have often used this approach, especially when I’m hunting in new territory; it gives me a chance to scout out an area where I have never been before, and if I find what looks like a promising spot, I hold up for a time.

I remember well one such still hunting episode when I went to Montana on an elk hunt; this was before cell phones and all the gadgets that come with them. I was alone most of the time I hunted, and I was a couple of miles back in the mountains; a topographical map and a compass was my guide. I suspect most people under thirty have no idea what a topographical map is, and they may not be too familiar with a compass either. On the second day of the hunt, while still hunting a ridge, I came upon a bull elk. The elk stood up about 50 yards away, but because I was moving so slowly and quietly, it wasn’t spooked. I dropped the nice six point with my 308 Winchester. Years later, I drew an elk tag for a Pennsylvania bull elk, and again on day two of the hunt, while still hunting near a ridge top, I caught a glimpse of a bull elk just above me. I added a nice eight-by-eight to my collection.

Well, it’s a pretty safe bet I’ll be perched in a stand somewhere later this month, but I may sneak in a little still hunting as well; I’d be happy either way.