How to Avoid Being Seen by Experienced Whitetails at a Stand Site

How to avoid being heard by a nearby whitetail while stand hunting is a no-brainer. Avoiding being visually identified is quite another matter. A stand hunter’s unique body or silhouette is large and unlike that of any other creature known by experienced whitetails, therefore readily recognized by them. To make your body indistinguishable while stand hunting, your body or silhouette must first be disguised by a fairly solid, natural background, dense enough to prevent being easily discerned against a sunlit, moonlit or starlit sky or a blanket of snow.


Next, the stand hunter must sit (becoming more stump-like than human-like) remain as motionless as possible 4–5 hours (hard to do). Better yet, the huner should be hidden well enough by natural cover in front and sides to hide necessary movements. Skin of the hunter’s head and face, which contrasts greatly with natural cover, must be hidden by a camo headnet or mask and skin of the hunter’s hands must be hidden by dark gloves. From nose to foot (while seated on a stool) the front and sides of a stand hunter’s body and accompanying hunting aids (firearm, stool, etc.) must be masked by natural cover or naturally-appearing cover — a U-shaped blind made with natural vegetation found lying on the ground in the vicinity (made at least 2-3 weeks before a hunting season begins) or a portable blind covered with a camo fabric that blends well with natural surroundings and is not sky-lighted to keep its unusual shape from drawing the attention of mature nearby deer.

Unconcealed movements, fast or very slow, are a stand hunter’s greatest failing, especially while hunting older bucks. Except when winds are moderate-to-strong, whitetails rarely fail to spot movements made by hunters or just about any other live creatures near or far away. When a movement is spotted, experienced deer study its location intently, up to fifteen minutes or more, or until whatever moved is judged harmless, potentially dangerous or dangerous, the deer then reacting accordingly.


The trouble is, human hunters depend almost wholly on their eyes to detect approaching or passing deer. Having eyes in the front of their heads, it necessary for stand hunters to often turn their heads and bodies 90-degrees or more to scan for upwind or crosswind deer. After a desirable quarry is spotted, it then becomes necessary for the stand hunter to raise a firearm or bow before taking aim and firing. Many archers stand up from a sitting position before taking aim. When unconcealed, these sweeping motions invariably draw the immediate attention of mature whitetails within 50 yards or more, often without the hunter realizing it and often with disappointing and long-term consequences. Unless a hunter’s upper body is at least 90% hidden when shooting movements are required, the hunter should always wait to raise a gun or bow until the quarry’s head is pointed straight away or both of its motion-sensitive eyes are well hidden by intervening cover.


(Note — Stand height rules have changed over the years. Always use a safety strap.)


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