If you manage a whitetail property, the tractor in your shed is likely about to dig dirt. As you compare seeds and seed companies, consider perennials to annuals and contemplate additional plots, don’t forget to plan your treestand network. Every food plot needs several ambush sites to give you flexibility in varying wind direction, but more importantly, so you don’t overhunt your property.
It’s easier to overhunt a small property than it is to get carried away with a pan of fresh, steaming, melt-in-your- mouth brownies. If you hunt the same location time and time again, you might as well hand over your trail cameras to the deer. That’s how well they can pattern you and your diminishing buck sightings will prove it. While you plan out your food plots, plan out your treestand sites.
A good answer to any food plot ambush dilemma is to have a handful of stands in place and use them rotationally so bucks won’t pattern you. This also provides you options as winds shift. Unfortunately, there is no formula on how many treestands are appropriate per acre of land, not to mention we all live on a budget.
Here’s a general rule of thumb to follow:
Determine how many prime ambush locations you hope to target. Look at funnels, field edges, crossings and mast hotspots that will lure deer away from your plots. In most cases, two treestands per location will handle each prime location. One stand should be set to take advantage of the prevailing wind and the second stand set for the next likely wind you’ll encounter. Of course, it never hurts to add in a third or fourth for a quick fix elsewhere if you get busted and want to let a prime site rest.
I have a minimum of six stands on one small property I hunt annually. Some stands are literally within Mathews range of one another, but the options allow me to switch stands to match the wind and to keep one step ahead of the homeboys as they visit their new buffet.
Finally, if you feel comfortable in your knowledge of deer patterns, put the treestands up when you plant your plot. You’ll have it done and the deer will long forget your intrusions by the time season rolls around.