Shooting Houses vs Tree Stands
Dr. John Woods 12.01.19
Many deer hunting camps or clubs debate what types of hunting stands to buy and install. Each type offers its own advantages and disadvantages. It matters not if your camp is well-established and in an upgrade mode, or a new club just working to establish itself. Either way, there are critical choices about which stands to use.
The first thing to do is to make a full assessment of your hunting property and the likely locations to place shooting houses or tree stands. Traditionally a shooting house is placed more out in the open, at the corners or edges of a food plot or slightly tucked away in the woods to view an open area. Few shooting houses are set up deep into the woods unless there is an open area carved out of the timber.
A typical shooting house is four-sided and therefore will be set up to maximize viewing out all four sides of the house. Be sure you can fully observe the 360 degrees of the hunting area where the shooting house is set.
Ideally, a shooting house is placed where a hunter can slip into it without openly disturbing the food plot or open area. That is not always possible, but at least try to factor that into consideration.
For a shooting house, should it be put on the ground or elevated off the ground several feet? There is little argument that an elevated stand offers more visibility. Most commercial shooting houses are built to accommodate a raised frame. Take advantage of that option to increase observation opportunity.
Tree stands such as a good strong ladder stand can present endless options for placement. They are perfect for food plot coves set back in the woods, or deep in woodland habitats. Ladder stands can be safe when set up properly. Some require the use of a safety harness, while others have a safety bar that lowers in front of the seat. Care should still be used in climbing, and a gear line should be used to pull gear up from the ground.
With any tree stand the hunter is more exposed, so movement needs to be limited. Scent control is more important in an open stand. Placement needs to be made where prominent viewing is forward and to either side. Rear view is limited. Be sure to trim limbs for a full view.
Hunting stands are critical for deer hunting. Plan carefully and provide a mix of stands to hunt your property most effectively.