Get a group of bow hunters together and ask what they feel is the best method of staking out their prey; is it a tree stand or a ground blind? Chances are high that a robust and very opinionated conversation is going to take place. Regardless of which way you lean, there are a few things to consider for each different system.
If you are considering using a tree stand to stake out, watch for, and take down your prey, you need to keep several aspects in mind. These include angle of the tree to the ground, height, integrity of the tree, and wind patterns.
As you begin to inspect and pick out the perfect tree for the stand, look for trees that give a clear line of sight to the area your prey will be passing through. Try not to cut branches or prune out the area as this can be a red flag to the animals you’re hunting. Next, select a tree that is at a minimum of an 80-90 degree angle to the slope of the ground. Try finding a tree that gives quick access to scaling down the tree when needed. The angle and height of the tree give a much greater range of view for sighting, and ultimately taking down your prey. Also, be aware of the prevailing wind patterns. Set the tree stand up where the wind will not push your scent to the prey area or create a disturbance with your shooting.
A ground blind is a great option if you are on the hunt in sparsely treed areas. When making a ground blind you need to be aware of the angle of the ground, the range of sight and vision from the blind, wind patterns, and how the area selected for the ground blind is used by prey animals, as well as by other animals and birds. The ground blind needs to be high enough for comfort, but not so built up that the prey are suspicious. With a ground blind it is important that other scents are used to help push away the human scent. Examples include deer urine, bear urine, and other natural scents that are spread around the circumference of the blind, with the intent of keeping the prey animals at ease.
When possible, set up the ground blind in a field or open area where bird flocks pass through. This is important because if you see birds flying away or fluttering about, it is often a sign that larger animals are approaching, meaning potential prey animals. Use the natural flora and fauna patterns to help make the ground blind not just a cover for the hunt, but also as a place to gather intel. The movements of birds and other animals are very important clues and tells for larger animals moving around the ground blind.
No matter what method you use or are going to use in the future, take the time to inspect the area, find the best place and of course, enjoy the time spent out on the hunt.