Experienced hunters use a compass for more than just map reading.
To make my treestands most effective during hunting season, I always carry a compass. I use it when picking out a tree and deciding which direction to face my stand. Here's why:
Knowing your bearings is essential for the initial stand set up. If you guess and get it wrong, you'll likely fail to fill your deer tag.
IMPORTANT: Before hitting the woods, find out the prevailing wind direction in the area you'll be hunting. If you're trying a new area, you might have to ask a local hunter about this. Prevailing wind direction on one side of a county might be different than the other.
Now that you know which direction to expect the wind, use your compass when you find a good tree and position your stand accordingly.
You'll want to point your stand facing the expected wind, turned slightly to the right or left depending on whether you are right handed or left handed and where the game trail is situated.
A right handed hunter will take more comfortable shots if his or her body is pointed slightly to the right of the intended target. It's the opposite for lefties.
Also, remember wind direction in the spring or summer is likely to be different than when you'll hunt in the fall or winter.
Now, withstand the temptation to hunt this stand until the wind is right.
If you use your compass to get your setup right from the start and wait for a favorable wind direction, you'll have a lot better chance of filling the freezer come fall.
–Editor’s Note by Tim H. Martin
In my part of the country, the Deep South, there’s an old adage: Wind from the east, fish bite the least. Here, the same holds true for deer movement.
On my hunting property, whitetails are generally much more active when a cold front arrives, which is nearly always from the northwest or west-northwest.
When setting up a new stand, I use my compass to face my stand somewhat toward the north or northwest in anticipation of hunting during cold fronts.
It might take a hunt or two to figure out the exact direction my stand needs to face, but because I used my compass in the initial setup, it’s rarely more than a slight tweak, if at all.
Of course, prevailing wind direction all depends on where you live and where your cold fronts come from. But with a compass and a little local knowledge, your stand setup will be one step ahead of the game.
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