Though multiple first-time/half-day-used stand sites soon proved to be an undeniable asset when hunting mature bucks, with 8–12 full time and part time hunters in our deer camp each hunting season, finding and preparing enough of them for everyone proved to be impossible, especially since only my three sons and I then knew what to look for. So we compromised. While scouting 2-4 days once or twice, finishing two weeks before the opener, the four of us aided by three growing grandsons and occasionally a wife selected and prepared (if necessary) 2–3 stand sites and approach trails (marking them with fluorescent tacks) for each of our weekend hunters and 4–6 for each of ourselves for the first 2–3 days of the hunting season. After three days of stand hunting, though most surviving mature bucks would still be living within their established home ranges, they would thereafter be repeating what they did to survive previous hunting seasons—widely avoiding all newly discovered stand sites used by hunters, becoming far less predictable location-wise (especially while breeding was in progress) and limiting daylight movements to the first two legal shooting hours of the morning and the last thirty minutes before dusk (except when certain weather conditions triggered short periods of midday feeding).
Beginning on day 3 or 4, except where fresh signs made by mature bucks are discovered near previously used tree stands or ground level stand sites (typically not happening until day five or later), most of our stand hunting is done at ground level adjacent to current favorite whitetail feeding areas where fresh, mature-buck-sized tracks and droppings were discovered nearby midday while hiking non-stop (wolf-like) along looping trails designated for this purpose. The stand sites we seek then must provide excellent cover for a seated hunter and require very little or no preparation. Sites that require considerable preparation during a hunting season end up with far too many physical changes and far too much lasting and widely scattered human odors—sure to be noticed the first time the buck that made the nearby tracks and droppings approaches them.
A ground level stand site with minimal or no preparation, minimal human odors (trail scents) and adequate silhouette-hiding cover, front and back, that has never been used before and is within easy shooting range downwind or crosswind of fresh tracks or droppings made by a big buck adjacent to or in a current favorite whitetail feeding area is the most productive of mature-buck stand sites. Such sites (natural blinds) are everywhere in forest cover, making it eay to find and use great numbers of them with little effort—although certain knowledge is needed to recognize them and characteristics of mature-buck-effectiveness. About one of four of our past ground level stand sites used after day 2 or 3 enabled my three sons and I to take more than half of the 101 mature bucks we have taken since 1990. Most bucks were taken early during the first morning half-days we used them. Hooray for stools and endless great spots to use them.