Setting Stands and Trimming Shooting Lanes

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Written by Clint Campbell, Truth from the Stand Podcast

If you’re like me and pressed for time between deer work and family obligations you’re probably late to the stand preparation party and using a run and gun approach for a large part of your bow season. That being said, most of my work tends to be last minute trimming from the ground or trimming from my treestand. This year however, I’ve prioritized a few high value stand locations and trimmed them out during late winter and will manage the remainder of my stand locations as usual—last minute. My challenge in the past has been with my cutting tools, which were less than effective. Fortunately, Wicked Tree Gear makes lightweight and rugged hand saws and pole saws that fit my mobile and abusive hunting style. Here are a few tips I try to follow when trimming out stand locations.

Trim Early
In a perfect world, you would get into the timber during late winter or early spring to trim out your stand locations and shooting lanes. My trimming is typically limited as I prefer to have more cover, and trimming this time of year will give you a great visual of how the timber will look during the fall once the leaves drop; this will also ensure you’re not trimming too little or too much. This isn’t to say you can’t do your stand prep in the summer, but be cautious with your cuts as to not remove too much cover. If need be, you can always throw a hand saw in your pack and finish some minor trimming from your stand. Wrapping up this work early is ideal (but not necessary, and in my case rarely happens) to give the deer time to adjust to the changes you’ve made to their home.

Trim From The Stand
I typically find myself faced with this trimming scenario. I work a full-time job and have a family (I’m sure this is similar to most of you), so stand trimming usually falls lower on the priority list of deer work to get done. Trimming from the stand however does have its benefits. During the season, this will keep you from walking around leaving scent everywhere to potentially spook deer. Cutting from the stand is made easy with lightweight pole saws…no one wants to carry around a heavy pole saw or try to accurately wield a heavy piece of gear 25 feet in the air. Before starting your cuts, be sure to clearly identify the windows you’d like to shoot through to avoid multiple trips up and down the tree.

Trim In The Rain
Working in the rain can be annoying, but it will offer the best conditions to keep location scent impact to a minimum—particularly if you’re like me and doing a lot of your trimming near, or during the season. Watch the weather forecast and try to pick a day where you’ll be getting rain. The rain will wash away your scent and give you a clean set to hunt. Also, be sure the wind is in your favor while trimming so that you don’t blow up any bedding areas.

Trim Minimally & Hide The Evidence
Deer notice every nuanced difference you create in their homes. With that in mind, cut only what is needed and remove the debris if you intend to hunt the set soon after your cuts. If you’ve cut small saplings, be sure to prune them close to the ground and to cover them with leaves and dirt. Nothing says danger to a deer like bright white stubs sticking out of the ground where trees used to be!

Wrap Up
Half the battle of any task is timing and having the right tools for the job. I can’t help with timing but I can suggest you choose Wicked Tree Gear saws, especially if you’re like me and hunt mobile and a little late to the trimming party.

Written by Clint Campbell, Truth from the Stand Podcast