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Welcome to the 3Rivers Archer's Den

Archer's Den

Welcome to the Archer's Den. Here you will find a gathering of traditional archery stories, tips and techniques, trophy animals taken with traditional bows, and plenty more. Stay a while and learn something. We hope you enjoy and even submit a trophy of your own, or leave a comment on a post.

Tag Archives: tree stand

What to Pack into Your Tree Stand

What to Pack when Bowhunting from a tree stand
What to bring with when hunting from your tree stand

By: Dean VanderHorst

Let’s face it, if you’re tree stand hunting whitetails in the Midwest you’re most likely just a short hike from your vehicle or house. Most of us are. If you forget a flashlight or heaven forbid your knife it is just a short walk away. I grew up in southern Michigan bowhunting whitetails at an early age just a ten minute walk out my back door to my stand and most of the time I would have only my knife and bow. Every time I trudged back to the house however for a flashlight left an impression on me to be prepared and think ahead.

Every hunt begins with optimism and being armed with a few items in a prepared fanny pack or backpack is a great way to begin any hunt weather you are in the back 40 acres, down the road, or packing your stand into a dark cedar swamp for an evening bow hunt. Having the items prepared a head of time insures that you have all your gear and that you can be focused on your hunt and not be thinking of what you might have forgotten or should have taken. I find myself thinking of heading to a tree stand at every chance through October and November and by having all of my gear in one place ensures confidence that if I take off and climb up my stand I’ll be prepared for the hunt.

First I use a fanny pack primarily for one reason, it is small. Less space forces me to plan smart and keeps my pack lightweight. I’ve seen a lot of guys over the year use large backpacks or monster fanny packs just for tree stand hunting and put more stuff in there than is necessary just because they have the room. I prefer to keep it small, light and simple. My list includes necessities and some items of convenience developed over time so you have to weigh what is important to you and space constraints.

Here is my List:

  1. License. Don’t leave home without it.
  2. Fanny Pack or small backpack. I like Badlands for their durability, quietness, and comfort.
  3. Knife. Your favorite will do. I have had a Kershaw Alaskan blade trader for years. It has a saw blade as well as a knife blade so it is versatile and compact.
  4. Compass or GPS. Always good to keep your bearings even when you “know” where you are. The GPS has the advantage of marking way points during tracking also.
  5. Headlight. I prefer headlights over flashlights because if you have to track or dress a deer after dark it is much easier to do if you’re not holding a light too.
  6. Wind dust. Always know which way the wind is blowing.
  7. Knife sharpener. A small 3Rivers CC sharpener is great to have handy.
  8. Camo mask or paint. Staying concealed requires head to toe coverage.
  9. Bow hook, pull up rope, and 2nd chance arrow clip. Small items but when you have several stands they can easily be forgotten to be placed ahead of time so it is convenient to have a spare or if you grab your climber tree stand to head to a new spot for a night.
  10. Chemical hand warmer and toe warmer. One pack of each. Clearly not a necessity but I put them in my pack early in the season so they will be there so later in the season and often use them on a morning I was not expecting.
  11. Camera and camera clip. I never used to carry one but when I started hunting with my kids it has been a must to record the moments. Small is the key. I have a small point and shoot digital camera with a clip mount that will hold anywhere for a great picture to save the memories.
  12. Binoculars. A small pocket set of binos for stand hunting are invaluable.
  13. Phone. Think that is a given anymore.
  14. Small baggy of wet wipes. A one quart freezer bag with a couple wet wipes in it is convenient for clean up after dressing a deer.
  15. Armguard and glove/tab. Sounds so simple but I keep them in my fanny pack for a reason; and yes I’ve made it to my tree stand without them before so now I keep them in my pack so not to be forgotten.
  16. Hand pruners. Trim those little branches that pop up in lanes, walking into stand sets or trimming out for taking photos.
  17. Brunton Inspire™ battery pack. This is not a necessity either but I won’t be caught without one in my pack. They are about the size of your cell phone and can recharge your phone, headlamp, and camera. Very simple and eliminates the need to carry extra batteries.
  18. Game calls. Not necessities but if you’re taking them, get them in there.
  19. Marking tape. A roll of about 10’ to use when tracking a blood trail. Be sure to take it down after being used.

All of these items kept ready in one spot will help anytime you get time to sneak off to your hunting stand this season. I keep mine in my truck all season with my safety harness so all I have to remember is my bow and quiver and I’m ready to go. Any successful hunt starts with good planning. Stay safe, shoot straight and make some memories in the wood this fall.

Author with a fine Whitetailed Doe
Author with a beautiful doe whitetail deer

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October Hunting Tips

film-canisters-cotton-balls-deer-scents
Film canisters filled with cotton balls socked in deer scents

By Dave Echterling and James McKenzie

October is a favorite time of year for most bowhunters. In addition to hunting, many of us spend every spare second in the woods looking for rubs, scrapes, and general signs. There is nothing better than a fall afternoon in the woods.

Deer hunting is an ever changing challenge. Just because one spot was good last year does not necessarily mean that it will be a productive area the next. Remember, deer patterns can change rapidly. Just as soon as we think we have them figured out, hunting pressure can cause deer habits to change very quickly. Early gun seasons before bow season and youth firearm seasons can contribute to this change in deer habits. So it’s important to keep your options open, be observant, and not get complacent.

Let the wind dictate your stand choice for a morning or evening hunt. Always be on the downwind side of travel routes. Never risk sitting in a stand with a questionable wind. If the wind is wrong wait for more favorable conditions. On days with unfavorable wind conditions, you might want to find a new stand location or set up a ground blind. Fence rows can be ideal locations for ground blinds, as they are frequent travel paths for deer. Even a perch in between the branches of a downed tree can work well in a pinch. Always be on the lookout for new stand locations. As deer habits change do not be afraid to adjust with them.

Another thing you might consider is to not use a cover scent. A Hunter’s Hack that some have found works very well, is to carry three film canisters, each having a cotton ball in them soaked with doe urine. Place each one about ten yards from the tree, always in a shooting lane because there is a probability that a deer will stop and smell one or two. This will hold their attention and possibly allow you to get a shot off. It is also something new, and deer, being curious animals, will tend to check it out. When you leave the woods take the canisters with you. You may find this is a lot better than placing scent on the ground and leaving it, or using it as a cover scent. Even if it does cover your scent you still have a smell and deer will stop to investigate rather than fleeing.

It is good practice to always carry a blunt tip. When you get ready to leave your tree stand, pick a leaf to shoot at. This keeps you in tune, provides confidence, and improves your shooting from an elevated position.

If it’s a rainy day with a swirling wind try hunting from the ground and spend some time stalking. The woods is noisy during a rain shower and deer tend to typically take cover at these times. The noise also helps drown out any sounds you make. Cornfields are also great during windy and rainy weather. You just need to slowly move from row to row looking both ways one row at a time. Always use this time for a little scouting too. See where the deer are moving and if patterns are changing. You might even take the opportunity to still hunt on the way to your stand locations. You never know what you might encounter. The important thing is to not limit yourself.

As deer season progresses toward the rut, the ability to be flexible and think outside of the box can make or break your hunt. But whatever your preference, the most important thing is that you get out in the woods, enjoy nature, and experience the hunt.

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