Why are stand hunters seeing fewer deer?

With the bowhunting season in full swing, it’s noteworthy that the vast majority of bowhunters opt to do their hunting from tree stands. There are several advantages to doing so – being higher makes the hunter less noticeable to approaching deer; the height also keeps any human scent higher so it may drift above a deer that’s close by; and the hunter can get away with a bit more movement without the deer spotting it. But there’s becoming a downside to this as well.



Blame it on hunters that hunt both the archery and the gun seasons from tree stands, or on all the TV deer hunting shows that usually focus primarily on both bow and gun hunting being done from tree stands (and normally seeing lots of bucks and almost always being successful), or maybe on the aging hunter group as a whole, who just don’t like to walk as much as they use to. However, with so many gun hunters now opting to sit for hours in tree stands, rather than still-hunt, fewer deer are being seen because they can cease moving (bed down) for a good portion of the day without being disturbed by hunter movement.

Other than the peak deer movement times of just after dawn and just prior to dusk, about the only other period some deer will be moving is around noontime, as many hunters leave the woods to have lunch or take a break from hunting. What this is translating to in recent years is that gun hunters are seeing fewer deer when they’re on watch. It’s quite simple really … with far fewer hunters on the move in the woods, there are far fewer deer being forced to move. Oh, a few hunters still practice limited deer drives drives, but even that practice has declined in recent years as less land has become accessible to hunting.


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