sitting in a tree stand

How to Set Up a Tree Stand

Hunting deer with a firearm is a thrilling sport that takes dedication and practice. However, bowhunting offers an entirely different adventure that requires patience and near-obsessive attention to detail. One of those essential details is the right tree stand. 

A tree stand offers a great vantage point that gives you increased visibility of the environment and provides added cover from your prey. You need to set up your tree stand efficiently and strategically if you want your hunt to be successful. Here are some tips on how to set up a tree stand.

Have a Distinct Purpose

When picking the location of your tree stand, make sure you are choosing it for the right reasons. You need to have at least a few good reasons why your particular tree is the ideal spot. If you can’t identify specific reasons for your decision, you need to choose a different location. Still, if you saw a buck pass by earlier or if there is ample evidence of deer in the vicinity, you’re probably on the right track. 

Create Noiseless Access

You don’t want to alert the local deer population every time you’re getting in or out of your stand, so make sure your entrance and exit are as quiet as possible. If you make a lot of noise, you’ll alert the deer you’re trying to hunt.

Block Your Scent

To shield your scent from the deer, you need a wind blocker or escape. It should be some area, like a large open field, in which the deer would usually be wary of crossing. Your stand should be situated so the wind blows your scent across this dead zone.

A wind blocker can also be a geographical feature – a wide river or ditch – that prevents your prey from walking directly into your scent stream. The ideal spot will have the same effect when the wind blows from a few different directions. 

Some hunting clothes have scent blockers built into them to deter the deer from detecting your presence. But, you don’t want to take any chances. Use wind escapes and blockers to optimize your luck at bagging a trophy.

Use Tree Camo

Tree camo is just as important as the best whitetail hunting clothes when it comes to disguising your presence from your prey. Choose a tree perch that provides you with adequate cover. Look for a tree with plenty of branches and leaves to mask your presence. Oaks and cedars are excellent choices because they tend to be quite bushy around tree stand height.

If you’ve found a great location without adequate cover, you can create a makeshift cover by cutting down branches, hauling them up to your stand or using fake Christmas tree parts for camouflage.

Bow hunter tree stand ladder climb

Source: REDAV /

Build Shooting Lanes

You should cover your tree stand, but you also want to give yourself a clear, accurate shot. Ensure you have adequate shooting lanes from your perch so you don’t miss your chance when a buck passes.

Trim all the branches in one or two directions so you have a clear shot when a buck appears. And if there’s one small branch that’s just out of reach, find a way to get to it. Bowhunting is a precise sport, and one small branch can ruin a great shot.

Find a Suitable Height

To create an excellent tree stand, make sure you build it at the proper height. Too low, and the deer will spot you. Too high, and you risk losing the shot due to the angle of your arrow. 

The ideal height for a tree stand is about 20 feet off the ground. If there’s minimal cover in the trees, some hunters go even higher. A deer population used to a lot of hunting will often check the trees for danger

Funnel the Deer

You can also work with the terrain around your tree stand to funnel your prey toward you. Use obstacles like barbed wire, large logs or thick brush to guide the deer toward the area of your tree stand.

You may have to work a little to get your funneling landscape just right. Chop down trees or gather some thick brush with thorns to move into a viable area. It may be arduous, but it will lead the buck right to your doorstep.

hunter in a tree stand

Setup Success

If you’re bowhunting from a tree stand this season, you have to be careful and deliberate. 

Pick a tree near deer habitats with a lot of cover. Manipulate the landscape to create even more cover and funnel the deer toward you. Using performance hunting gear and terrain that blocks your scent will increase your chances of bagging a buck. With some care, forethought, precision and strategy, you will find success with your bow in a tree stand. 

At Nomad, we specialize in performance hunting gear that is designed by hunters for hunters to improve your experience in the field. To find out more about our full range of apparel, browse our online catalog or contact us at our help center.