It seems like an easy question. How high should you place your tree stand while bow hunting? While a textbook answer maybe 18-22 feet, the answer isn’t the same for everyone, not even close. There are so many variables to think about when deciding the height of your stand. It really can impact the success you have on a hunt, and let’s face it… most of us need ALL the help we can get. So let’s talk about the things to consider.
Types of Trees and Lay of the Land
If your hunting ground is mostly made up of pine or cedar trees, you can definitely get away with a lower height as these trees will provide more cover than hardwoods. Also important is taking into account the terrain and natural visibility as far as hills and valleys.
Now no one wants to admit that they are ever inaccurate with their shots, but if we are honest, we all know we aren’t perfect. Remember, bows are most accurate around 15 yards. The higher you place your deer stand, the more yardage you add to your shot, making it even more difficult to hit the vital area of the deer. Not to mention the angle shot is much more difficult to make at all and the kill zone shrinks the higher you go.
Patience Level of the Hunter
You know yourself better than anyone. Ask yourself, “Will I be fidgety and moving around a lot? Will I get bored and forget to hold still?” If the answer is yes to these questions, height above the level of the peripheral vision and the noise level of the deer is a must.
Bows, Backpacks, and Baggage
Another thing to consider is how many items will you be carrying up the stand. When you are climbing a tree, with your bow, whether it be a recurve bow or a compound bow, backpack, safety harness in bulky clothes, a higher stand of 40 feet may feel like Mount Everest by the time you reach the top.
Comfort, comfort, comfort
Did I mention comfort? If you are wondering why I said comfort three times, it’s because it is hands down the MOST important factor in determining the height of your tree stand. Take into consideration your comfort with heights. All the other things that come into play can be adjusted, but if you are not comfortable having that much distance between you and the ground, you won’t have a successful hunt or just as important, an enjoyable hunt.
This video goes into detail about the pros and cons of choosing a height for your stand. In it, Bill Winke talks about what is a typical height level for a stand, but that level will be different for each person depending on his or her comfort zone.
The bottom line is, know the area you are hunting, know yourself and what you feel comfortable with and you cannot go wrong. Height of a deer stand? There is no wrong answer. Good luck and happy hunting!