We have all done it. Climbed a tree or set a stand a little higher than normal to be sure that we can fool that deer’s nose and stay out of sight. What happens once we are in the stand? For me, I spend most of the time fidgeting and can’t get comfortable, defeating one of the reasons for setting the stand extra high. But then again, I have a fear of heights, so the nervousness is intensified for me. So how high is too high?
Well, I have killed deer from stands no more than 8 feet off the ground, as seen in this video as well as from stands 20-25 feet off the ground. This is my comfort zone, but ideally the maximum height I hang my stands is 15-20 feet. The first thing I look for when I find the type of deer sign that i want to hunt over, is a tree that offers good shooting opportunities with plenty of cover at my ideal height. If you have sufficient cover, and discipline over your movements, you can get away with lower to the ground set ups. Today’s scent control clothing and sprays also help fool a deer’s nose but they do not replace the importance of placing stands for certain wind directions, and only hunting those stands when you have that wind.
The bottom line is hunt as high as you feel comfortable. Some trees may not offer the best opportunities unless you are 25 -30 feet in the tree. In these cases, I would choose another tree close by that I could get lower but sometimes that isn’t possible. Just remember that safety always comes first. Whether it be hanging the stand, climbing into and out of, or the time spent in the tree, if at any time you feel uncomfortable you are too high. Nervousness or hesitation can cause panic which can be a big problem 30 feet off the ground. Find a tree that offers a position within your comfort height and you will find that you can sit longer, the hunt is more enjoyable, and you will harvest more deer.