2 Overlooked Tools for Preparing Deer Stands

Do you carry these two important but often overlooked tools into the field as you place deer stands and build natural ground blinds?

2 Overlooked Tools for Preparing Deer Stands

Believe it or not, two of the most important tools I own for preparing deer stands during late summer and early fall can be purchased at hardware stores and lawn and garden centers, not sporting goods retailers. Both tools are designed for work around your yard, but they work wonders in the woods, too.


Hedge Shear

Designed for trimming bushes in your yard, a hedge shear is a critical tool for deer hunters who want to quickly remove tall grasses and other bothersome plants and shrubs from their shooting lanes. Many deer hunters pack a hand pruner when preparing deer stands and ground blinds, and I do, too. However, trying to clear a 20-yard-long alley (shooting lane) in waist-high grasses for a clear shot from a ground blind is a nightmare with a hand pruner. In fact, it’s nearly impossible. A hedge shear is the perfect solution to this problem. It works equally well on low-growing debris when cutting shooting lanes for treestands, as well as clearing trails for walking to and from deer stands and ground blinds.

A hedge shear quickly removes grasses and other debris from shooting lanes.
A hedge shear quickly removes grasses and other debris from shooting lanes.

Tip: Grasses and other weeds begin to die off during late summer, so cutting them with a hedge shear at this time ensures you’ll have clear shooting lanes when archery deer season opens.


Expandable Tree Pruner/Saw

Regardless of whether you call it a tree pruner, pole trimmer or pole saw, it’s a must-have tool for anyone who hunts from a treestand. I prefer pole trimmers that feature a strong steel saw blade for larger branches, as well as a pruner blade for smaller ones (less than 1 inch). The pruner function is operated by pulling on a rope; it works very well.

A quick online search revealed that you can purchase a 12-footer (expandable fiberglass pole) for about $40, and a 14-footer will set you back about $50. 

Clearing a shooting lane with a tree pruner/saw is a two-step process. First, you saw/prune branches from the ground, then you saw/prune branches from the treestand (wear your safety harness!). 

How important is a tree pruner/saw to my deer stand prep plan? I own three because I regularly bowhunt in Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. I leave them at the destination so I don’t have to worry about toting them back and forth.

An expandable tree pruner/saw allows you to remove branches that could deflect an arrow from a treestand.
An expandable tree pruner/saw allows you to remove branches that could deflect an arrow from a treestand.

As you think about preparing deer stands and ground blinds this late summer, be sure to pack a hedge shear and tree pruner/saw. A quick and clean kill begins with clear shooting lanes.

Check out the video below showing a Fiskars 14-foot expandable tree pruner/saw in action. As you can see, it makes quick work of smaller branches, and does a decent job on larger ones, too. I own this same pole saw, and agree 100% with the video host’s list of pros and cons. I always have the saw positioned in the safety position when hauling the saw in my pickup bed; that way, the saw stays sharp and it won't accidently cut a treestand cushion.

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