Place Your Whitetail Ambush During Preseason

Don’t wait until whitetail season to prep treestands and ground blinds. Do it now and deer will forget the intrusion.

Place Your Whitetail Ambush During Preseason

Food is the driving force behind deer movement. You must know what’s planted where, then predict when whitetails will target various food sources. (Photo by Mark Kayser.)

Remember when your parents would ask, “Have you finished your chores yet?” You might ask yourself that question this preseason regarding the placement of new stands for the hunting season three or more months in the future. It seems like a long way off, but as they say, time flies.

The warmer months tend to bring on a hodgepodge of home chores and family activities eating away at free time. Deer hunting planning usually slides to the back burner like the government’s pledge to balance the budget. Instead of using a few spare hours for a lazy day in the sun, consider planning and placing several new stands on your whitetail hunting property. The beneficial reasons for a preseason assault on your hunting property are outlined below. All have the prospect for a payout this fall.

Brenton and Rachel Clark
Brenton and Rachel Clark

Not Rushed

Rachel and Brenton Clark own Iowa Whitetail Outfitters. They also manage Midwest Tree Service and a busy family of four. You can bet they utilize the warm weather months to ensure they are not rushed in the fall when clients arrive and with hopefulness to hunt a bit themselves. While hunting with the Clarks they shared with me that not only do they deploy an army of trail cameras after the landscape greens, but they are also upgrading permanent blinds, placing blinds and hanging stands whenever schedules allow. Follow their lead.

Once fall arrives your will to put up new stands will be competing with our desire to hunt. Guess which one will win? Extra time is difficult to carve out of an already busy fall. Sure, you have paid vacation leave, likely two weeks or more depending on your years of employment, but that is divvied between family, surprise needs and your leisure time.

Getting stands and blinds placed during preseason helps you utilize those precious hours off even more, particularly when you want to be hunting in the crucial period of the rut. Warmer months are also an excellent period to think about new stands. The timing could not be more perfect as the playing field begins to emerge with land management practices on full display.


The World As It Is

Depending on your whitetail hunting backdrop, you could be seeing the forest in full foliage, food plots established and farmlands taking shape with flourishing crops. In any case, you can begin to see the playing field for fall stand setups as the countryside blooms.

A drive around the neighborhood is recommended. Even using hunting apps such as HuntStand ( with its monthly updates aid you in gaining a perspective of all land management that could impact whitetail movement. A new food plot on the neighbor’s, a cornfield rotated to soybeans down the road or even logging on a national, or state forest, all affect whitetail movement. Think ahead to map potential whitetail detours for new stands.

Last season, a surprise soybean field approximately 1 mile from a Midwest property I bowhunt, lured deer during the early season. Fortunately, the field was anticipated. Instead of ignoring the likely pattern change, we adjusted stands in the summer to take advantage of the travel pattern likely to emerge on the opposite side of the property. The soybean speculation was spot-on as deer still utilized bedding on our property, but moved toward the soybeans regularly until a clean harvest made that temptation disappear.

Of course, this type of preparedness is an annual event, especially in farm country with the rotation of crops. More and more private wildlife land management also requires vigilance. The addition of one strategic food plot across the fence could leave you and your $3,000 permanent blind out of game.

After you set a new blind or stand, take a few minutes and range shooting lanes to ensure you have good shots in all desired directions. (Photo by Mark Kayser.)
After you set a new blind or stand, take a few minutes and range shooting lanes to ensure you have good shots in all desired directions. (Photo by Mark Kayser.)
(Photo by Mark Kayser.)
(Photo by Mark Kayser.)

Lapse of Memory

A true benefit of preseason stand placement is forgetfulness. Any big disruptions you may cause in the sunscreen months will long be forgotten by area deer before season. You may be whisper quiet in the woods simply by hanging a treestand and snipping a few limbs from shooting lanes, but not all stand chores are as unobtrusive. Permanent blinds, the trend of late, oftentimes require a tractor, trailer and noisy securement of the base to deter a blowdown. Add in the conversation of rowdy friends during an afternoon of sweat equity and deer get an earful, not to mention a nose full of you.

You may even utilize a chainsaw, string trimmer or a brush mower to carve trails, and clear areas for shooting lanes deep in timber. No worries. Except for a select few deer of the extreme North, most deer receive the full experience of human activity during the offseason. Your efforts will be combined with area farming, surveyors, roaming dogs, hikers and a host of habitat intruders.

This is all good news. Not only do most intrusions wane as fall arrives, but these very incursions in the home territory of a whitetail accustom them to disturbances, too. If the Devil does not rear its head in the fracas, deer bound away and return to normal behavior shortly.

Kansas wildlife property specialist and realtor Greg Gilman used to follow a strict rule of limited meddling on his hunting properties to ensure deer would keep to a normal routine. Over the years, his busy lifestyle dictates he gets jobs done when time allows. He now believes that preseason stand placement is crucial, but the bustling of farming, stand movement and forestry management creates an atmosphere where deer expect his presence. Today, instead of fleeing a food plot when he arrives in a UTV, deer just bound to the other side of the food plot and continue feeding.


Confidence About Job One Being Done

Finally, investigating your property and surrounding land management activity, and setting stands early, gives you peace of mind. On day one you’ll be ready. You will not be scrambling to Cabela’s to purchase a new treestand that may be out of stock. Your time will be focused on hunting, not work, and that exudes confidence.

The warmer months and dog days of summer will speed by like a meteorite in the night sky. Enjoy the summer solstice, but make sure you get your whitetail chores completed for the fall payout and not hearing that voice in your head, “Have you finished your chores yet?”


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