It doesn't matter if you’re an antler fanatic looking for your next trophy buck or solely on a mission to fill the freezer and willing to kill the first deer you see, sitting in the stand all day will sway the odds in your favor. Every time you get up you make noise and release scent.
Yes, the woods will eventually go back to normal.
But the time it takes for animals to get back to their routine is hunting time lost. Staying in the stand all day comes down to three main factors: warmth, food and refreshment, and comfort.
Getting cold is the leading reason hunters either move around or call it a day. To stay warm, start with a moisture wicking compression fit base layer.
Those shirts have been made popular by star athletes and I’ll be the first to admit I don’t look like a star athlete when wearing one. But they do an incredible job of keeping moisture off my body. The old standby T-shirt gets when we sweat. The wetness becomes cold after sitting down. That cold constantly pushes a hunter to head back to camp.
Clothing and Gear
After my base layer, I’ll slip on scent inhibiting clothing. I prefer fleece scent control because it not only regulates scent, it keeps me warm. Depending on how cold it is, the next layer is a light pair of pants or my insulated coveralls. The key is to have something that can get you through briars and thorns. I like to pack my parka in a backpack. I hunt in hilly country and even on the coldest mornings, I’ll work up a sweat on the way to the stand. Packing my coat in keeps me cool and dry during the hike.
When it comes to footwear, you can never have too much insulation. I go with the highest Thinsulate rating possible. On warm days, wear cotton socks. On cold days, it’s wool. Most hunters think nothing about spending big dollars on guns, bows, coats, and boots. But then they skimp on gloves. Do some research and don’t be afraid to spend $50 on a pair of gloves. Your hands are usually the first part of the body to get cold. Invest in protecting them. If you hunt in northern states, a warm face wrap is a good investment as well.
Eating and Hydration
What to eat when hunting is always up for debate and I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a professional nutritionist. My favorite in the stand foods are roast beef or chicken sandwiches and sliced, peeled apples. The sandwiches will stick to your gut. Even when they are cold, a hearty meat sandwich make you feel warm. Softer apples can be eaten quietly, especially if they are peeled. Golden Delicious are perfect. Apples provide fiber and are more filling than most other fruits. Deer also like apples so the scent won’t get you in trouble. I’ll pack my snacks in sandwich size zipper bags. They are quiet and fit easily in your pocket when finished.
When it comes to hydration, my vote is for water. Some folks like the sports drinks. The ads boast of “electrolytes”. Electrolytes is code speak for sugar. Sugar will get your mind sharp momentarily. But the crash is never far behind. The diet ones leave me feeling more dehydrated. Water is the best route. The wide mouth bottles served double duty. I’ll hit the woods with one full and another half full. Drink from the half full one first. Once it’s empty, you’ve got yourself a convenient, scent proof urinal.
Being warm and having a satisfied tummy is subjective. Some of us hunt in southern states where the temperature barely dips below freezing, even in late season. I’ve hunted with guys who are more than happy to sit all day without putting anything in their mouth. Comfort may be even more subjective than both.
I always carry a foam pad to sit on. It keeps my butt dry on mornings with condensation and provides overall comfort. Give me a tree stand with arm rests and I’m even happier. When shopping for stands look for arm rests as a comfort and an extra safety feature. A foot rest provides a spot to rest your legs during all day sits. Keeping your feet flat all day can leave you fatigued.
I prefer the peacefulness of the woods. No book, phone, or game can occupy my time the way studying the woods does. But if you like to read, text or play games while hunting, by all means bring that stuff along. You won’t be able to devote all of your attention to reading the woods. But not disturbing your surroundings will still pay off.
There are several cases for moving while hunting. However, early season is prime time for staying put. Chances are many other hunters are moving deer for you. If your scouting is good sitting tight is the best way to tag a deer.