Optimal Tree Stand Height By RubsNScrapes.com

I recently received the following from a reader... I have seen articles on optimum tree stand height and distance for perfect arrow placement on bears. Do you have an opinion on this for whitetail deer? My wisconsin friends seem to hunt too high and I think they miss vitals because of this???

- What is the optimal tree stand height?

- How does tree stand height affect your shot placement when bow hunting?
- What is the best height when bow hunting for maximizing your recovery rate of deer?

- What other factors influence your tree stand height?

Author: justinwp
justinwp - I think that sitting too high up can substantially reduce the target zone on the deer and probably leads to a large number of arrows getting lodged in the shoulder. Perhaps bowhunters should sit lower to get a better pass through angle that is more horizontal than vertical?

I typically hunt from approximately 15ft.
November 16, 2009
bill e - i like to get up a min. 15 ft for two reasons first to have your scent path to be high enough that deer do not detect you also deer tend to look mostly at eye level.i do feel that you can be too high and not get both lungs with what might apeer to to a good shot and a deer can go quit a ways and in a hurry with a shot like. that it always good practice to try hit so you get pass through
November 19, 2009
davidb - I definitely agree that being too high reduces your vitals target on a whitetail, but I don't prescribe to any minimum stand height either. We rely too heavily upon today's many different camo patterns and some element of height to avoid being spotted by approaching deer. For me I look for a suitable tree anywhere from 10-18 yards off the trail. A suitable tree is not simply on that is easily climbed. I want a tree that offers some sort of background to help breakup my outline and allow me to blend in. This may be a cluster of leavy branches, bows from a nearby pine or even a group of heavy crossing branches. If I cannot find a suitable tree that offers sufficient cover, I will look for another spot where a good tree is available for stand placement. Much better to find a "good" stand site at some other point along a promising trail than to spook deer by trying to force a poor stand location to work. By letting the available trees and cover guide my stand location and height I have successfully hunted from stands as low as 9' and as high as 20', but most of my stands are placed around 15'.
March 12, 2010
Derek W - I have to agree that there is such a thing as "too high up." If you are shooting from the ground, your ideal target area of the vitals is about 6-8 inches in circumference. From a higher elevation, the vitial shrink to 4-7 inches. Of course, that depends on your height that you are shooting from and it also depends on the distance there is between you and your target. Especially to actually hit both lungs.

I have two stands that are 15 feet to the shooting rail and thus far, I'm doing well.

My suggestion to anyone that has any question or doubt is to go to your local pro shop and find a 3D target or a stuffed deer. Use your index finger (or even your whole arm) as an arrow. Go stand directly next to the deer or target and point where you would like to hit. Then, pick a spot behind you that is about 20 yards behind you, then go up from that point 15 feet. Make an imaginary straight line from that point to where your finger (or arm) is pointing and you should see how an arrow will penetrate. Then, using that same point on the deer or target as before and instead of 15 feet up, move up to 20 feet. You will see that your ideal target gets smaller.

I hope that what I have said isn't too confusing. It's always hard to understand visual instructions by reading them.

Good luck and God Bless!!!
June 28, 2010
ray - so if you are twenty feet up and you are shooting thirty yards how high do you shoot to hit a vital my bow is set to 280fps and thirty yards i am on I have an older rangefinder by Lieca and I won't buy a new one please help me out
July 07, 2010
Gary - Hold high on the loungs . i hunt from 27 feet high and i shot at a doe 3 days ago and i hit the brisket because i didnt hold high enough and my bow is shooting 310 with my reezen 6.5. so i learned my lesson .
November 14, 2010
justinwp - Hunter safety also needs to be considered. I know a few people who have fallen out of stands and higher stands can be less safe. That isn't to say a 12' stand doesn't require you to use a safety harness though.
November 30, 2010
Stanley - I hunt from 20 to 30 feet high. For a broadside shot, I aim just behind the front shoulder and mid way up/down on the deer. It gives me a double lung hit. If the deer is quartering away, I aim at the opposite front leg mid way up/down.This also gives me a double lung hit. It doesn't seem to make any difference if the deer is 10 or 35 yards from me, I still get that two lung hit. I wont shoot if the deer is in any other position. Haven't lost a deer yet. (50+ and still counting).
December 15, 2010
daryl - i agree with stanley i hunt high pick my shots the areas i hunt recieve a lot of pressure the deer are very wary seems like i can get away with a little more movement too i dont shoot a lot of distance 25 yds is the max reckon there is no right or wrong on this topic whatever works for a person
October 28, 2011
Calvin Henderson - My optimum tree stand height is the lowest I can get away with. I will select the ground every time if I can get away with it. Nothing is more thrilling than being on ground level with the animal you want to kill. It can be harder, but with practice at watching the deer's eyes and body language, you can become good at it.
I just got back from a bow hunting trip. Killed a nice buck and an anterless deer from a stand 15 feet at best.
Let the circumstances determine what is best, not what somebody else always does. Remember, your hunt is unique to you.
November 07, 2011
jakester - Best bet for accuracy is to buy a good sight with multiple pins like one of the Boss Hogg sights. You should have one pin at 20 and one at 30 others can be set at 40,50, 60 if so desired, but it eliminates any holdover errors. Far more accurate.
November 08, 2011
chuck - i hunt 25 to 35 high .only have 1 pin . 0 to 40 is the same. shoot a high country. have no trouble with pass through or accuracy. cant count how many times i have put out a cig to shoot a buck
November 14, 2011
a dog - how long do you wait before going to find a downed deer
November 21, 2011
va hunter - a dog if you think you hit the vitals give the deer at least 30 mins to pass. Any other hits give it over night to die. If you hit the deer outside of the vitals, like a little back then it will probably still die. You just need to give it a while to expire. Walking up on a deer that is dieing the deer will hear you and keep running. Just give it the night and harvest in the morning. Good luck everybody! Btw I hunt at 30 ft and love it.
November 26, 2011
bill - In Missouri I hunt a lot of oak forests and thickets. My platform is almost always 12' to 14'. (7 - 10 steps) Any higher and I would be blocked by tree limbs from all of the oaks. Even if I hunted pines I'm not sure I would want my platform over 20' ever. I think people over estimate the height they hunt from. I use the platform rather than my shoulder to measure stand height. My shoulder would be 16' to 18' height in my stand typically.
December 26, 2011
dakota - im from southern west virginia and i am 13 years old and i hunt out of a 20' treestand. I know just were to hit them and thats why i hunt that high. My buddy he hunts from 25'-30' but i think thats alittle high. The height that i have always had deer see me or smell me was about 13', thats when i quiet that short.
May 16, 2012
Marian - the forest is thier home and the deer is also thier food .id kill a rat in my house but if i see one in the woods id let it be. ive seen yotes take far more rtbaibs and birds than i have deer. i wouldnt coyote hunt all the time taking a large number of them. unless i was going to eat them. dont kill it if your not gonna eat it thats how most normal hunters were raised.i shoot squirrels i eat squirrelsi shoot duck i eat duckif i was to shoot a yote .. id eat a yote
July 29, 2012
icarus - I hunt from 55-60\' treestands but can only shoot at deer that\'s no further away from the tree than 5 yards. At least they won\'t smell me:). I usually start climbing after breakfast and get there by noon. Unfortunately , I have to start descending again by one to make it down before sunset. Haven\'t harvested any deer lately :(
August 15, 2012
Jkn501 - I hunt @ 30' and have had trouble hitting double lung shots. I seem to wait too long, or not see em when they are out 10 yrds or more, and don't get a shot until they are almost under me. I have adjusted my KZ to be more low/ front quarter, for a lung/Heart shot. The angle of trajectory should be lower and more to the front the greater the angle.
October 07, 2012
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