Whether you’re a twice a year gun hunter or a die-hard bow hunter, picking the perfect spot for your treestand is crucial. In fact, it’s one of the most important steps in scouting. Having a treestand in a position that gives away your scent or location or is just in a bad spot to actually shoot will ruin a hunt fast. To avoid this, you need to choose a treestand location carefully. Below, we’ve gone over 8 tips to setting up your treestand. Take these tips as they are, add your own twist, or just build off of the suggestions and you’ll be on your way to finding the best possible location for your treestand this year.

1: Be Aware of Thermal and Wind Currents

The first thing you need to do when you find an area you’re interested in is to take note of thermal and wind currents. It’s important because you always want to stay downwind from where you think the deer will be. If deer catch your scent, they’re going to steer clear of the area, which means you’ll be sitting in a tree all by yourself all season.

To avoid being made a fool and ending up empty-handed at the end of the season, you need to choose your location carefully. Scout the area you’re interested in at different times of day, specifically the times of day you’re going to be in the woods hunting. But, be sure to do this at least a week or so before you plan to hit the woods, or you might scare the deer off just by being in the woods to close to the season.

2: Find the Perfect Tree

Okay, you’ve found the area – now it’s time to find the tree. If you hunt the same area year after year, you’ve probably got a good feel for the area, and may even have your tree pre-picked. However, if you don’t. Here is what you need to look for. Choose a tree that offers lots of natural cover. However, you’ll trade coverage for height. What this means is you can’t go as high in a tree with lots of cover as you can in a bald tree, but that might be what works for you.

3: Place Your Treestand High as Possible

You wouldn’t believe how many hunting forums are full of people asking how high they should place their treestands. Why go high, you ask? Well the higher you are, the further you will see. It also makes it harder for deer to see you. But even more importantly, if you are much higher than the ground, any scent of you isn’t at deer’s nose level, which means they are less likely to catch your scent. However, only go as high as is comfortable for you. If you don’t do well with extreme height – don’t do it. It doesn’t matter how well you can see if your scared to move in a treestand. But, if you feel comfortable go as high as you can.

4: Look for and Create Shooting Lanes

Now that you’ve found the perfect spot and placed your treestand exactly where it needs to be, you need to get in it and take a look around. If you’ve got the perfect tree to spot deer but your line of sight is covered in bushes, leaves, and other debris, you’re not going to get a shot off, so all your hard work thus far will be for nothing. To avoid this, you need to look for and create shooting lanes.

You might luck out and the ideal shooting lanes are naturally offered from your treestand. However, if they’re not, you’ll need to create them. Do this by removing brush, branches, leaves or anything else in your line of sight. If you want to test it out, set up a target or decoy where you think the sweet spot will be and try it out.

5: Think About the Sun

Does it hurt when you look at the sun? Yep, it does. Humans have a natural defense against UV rays but deer don’t. What this means is when the sun is shining deer won’t be traveling in directions where they have to directly look at the sun. Knowing this will help you set up your treestand in a manner that lets you change directions during the day in relationship to the sun.

Better yet, it will help you choose an area that isn’t affected by the sun going up and down during your hunt at all. If you’re not sure how the sun is going to affect you – remember to scout the area at different times of day.

6: Choose a Tree that is Easy to Climb

This should go without saying, but we’re going to say it anyways. Don’t pick a tree that is incredibly hard to climb. All your scouting, prep work, and actions before and after you start hunting will all be for nothing, if you sound like a pack of elephants every time you climb the tree.

7: Practice Your Movements

Another great way to stay safe is to practice your movements. Practice moving, adjusting yourself, and anything else you think you might need to do to stay as quiet as possible when you’re in your stand.

8: Stay Close to Feeding Locations and Ambush Areas

An ambush area is where deer travel paths converge. Ideally, you’ll want to put your stand in an area that overlooks several ambush areas at the same time. Next, you’ll also want to pick a spot that is close to where you know deer are feeding. Chances are if you are lucky enough to find an area that offers both of these locations, you’ll have no problem dropping deer with a bow or gun.

By following the tips above, you’ll never have to worry about setting up a treestand in the wrong location ever again. Remember that all of the suggestions might not be right for you and some may need tweaked to work out, but it’s the best way to get a good start to your best hunt ever.