Selecting Proper Tree Stand Location for Deer Hunting

9 Tree Stand Placement Tips

Last Updated: September 13, 2023By

9 Tree Stand Placement for Whitetail Deer Hunting

Having a great tree stand set up and just a little luck can change a hunter’s season. Deer hunting can be a game of inches especially when it comes to bow hunting. Big bucks somehow have the ability to move and stop in areas that do not offer the hunter a shot. Tree stand placement can make all the difference between a successful hunt and going home empty-handed. This guide delivers several tree stand and ground blind placement tips that will ensure you maximize your opportunities while staying safe.

Understanding Whitetail Deer Behavior

Before getting into the intricacies of tree stand locations, it’s vital to understand the basic behavior and survival skills of deer. Whitetail deer have keen senses and tend to use the wind and terrain to detect potential threats. Being aware of their typical movement patterns—whether they’re feeding, watering, or simply moving between different terrains—can offer significant insights into where you should position your tree stand.

Using the Wind and Thermals to Your Advantage

Deer have an exceptional sense of smell. Understanding the wind direction and how thermals (rising and falling air currents) work can help you stay undetected. Thermals rise with the warming day and fall during the evening, carrying scents with them. The graphic above is from the NDA and provides a simple explanation of the impact of thermals on deer hunting locations.

Types of Tree Stands and Their Uses

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all when it comes to tree stands. Different scenarios and terrains might call for different setups:

  • Climbing Stands: Perfect for hunters who prefer mobility, these stands allow you to climb trees without external devices.
  • Hang-On Stands: These are platforms that attach to trees and are ideal for areas with limited suitable trees for climbing stands.
  • Ladder Stands: A solid choice for those who want more stability, especially in familiar hunting grounds.

Each stand type has its advantages, but the critical factor is the hunter’s familiarity and comfort with the chosen stand.

All of the hang-on and ladder deer stands on my farms and leases are equipped with Hunter’s Safety System Lifelines! Every single stand. For less than $30/tree stand the cost is a no brainer. Start buying the three packs and put one permanently on each tree.

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Location, Location, Location: Ideal Spots for Tree Stand Placement

The ‘where’ is just as crucial as the ‘how’ in tree stand placement. Some prime spots include:

  • Edge of Woodlots: Deer often skirt the edges of wooded areas, especially during dawn and dusk.
  • Near Water Sources: Especially during dry spells, deer will frequent streams and ponds.
  • Along Natural Funnels: Natural barriers like ridges or water bodies can guide deer movement, making them predictable paths.
  • Near Feeding Areas: If you can identify where deer graze, placing a stand nearby can offer excellent opportunities.

Height Considerations

While getting a bird’s-eye view might seem appealing, there’s a balance to strike. Being too high can reduce visibility and shot accuracy, while being too low can make you easily detectable. An average height of 15-20 feet is often recommended, but it’s vital always to prioritize safety. My experience in the southeast is that you can’t get too high in a tree. Deer are hunted for over 4 months in the southeast and avoiding their sense of smell and sight is super important. The higher the better.

Visibility and Shooting Lanes

While a clear shot is every hunter’s dream, over-clearing can alert deer to your presence. It’s a delicate balance between trimming branches and ensuring you remain concealed.

Safety First: Ensuring a Secure Setup

No hunting opportunity is worth compromising safety. Always check the health and stability of trees. Dead or rotting trees can be a hazard. Also, always use safety harnesses and lifelines when climbing or sitting in your stand. I never leave the ground without hooking into a No products found.

Camouflaging Your Stand

Once your stand is up, make it disappear! Use the natural foliage around you—leaves, branches, and ferns—to mask your stand’s shape and sheen.

The Element of Surprise: Rotation and Multiple Stands

Deer are creatures of habit, but they’re not oblivious. If you hunt from the same spot repeatedly, there’s a chance they’ll pattern you. By rotating among multiple stands, you maintain the element of surprise.

Setup for a Clean GetAway

Selecting Proper Tree Stand Location for Deer Hunting

Selecting Proper Tree Stand Location for Deer Hunting

Successful trophy hunters always have an exit plan in mind when setting up a deer stand. Being able to sneak away without spooking deer will translate into success on future hunts. As mentioned previously, alerting deer of your existence will ultimately change the deer’s pattern and push them off your farm.

Share The Tree Stand Location With Someone

Be sure to share the stand location with someone! A map pin or hunting app like OnX is the preferred method just for accuracy. We all know someone that has had a tree stand accident so being able to be located quickly could save your life.


  1. Understand deer movement on your farm
  2. Use the wind and thermals
  3. Use natural funnels
  4. Pick the right height
  5. Use safety harnesses and lines
  6. Get camoflaged
  7. Don’t over hunt a location
  8. Check your escape route
  9. Share your location

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Strategic tree stand placement is both an art and a science, requiring a deep understanding of deer behavior and a keen sense of your surroundings. While the process can be intricate, the rewards—a successful, ethical hunt—are well worth the effort.

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