Being stealthy and unobserved while hunting is just as crucial as accurate shooting. How do you stay quiet in a tree stand? Even the slightest noises can cause animals to flee before you have a chance to take a picture by alerting them to your presence. It’s especially important for hunters who use tall tree stands to maintain silence.
Animals are better able to detect and identify noises when they are poised above the forest floor. When magnified from a tree stand, seemingly benign noises like a cough or the rustle of candy wrappers might destroy your chances. Patience, focus, and silence are necessary for successful stand hunting.
You can perfect silent tree stand hunting with a little planning and practice. Here, we’ll look at the essential tactics and ideas for being entirely silent in your elevated conceal.
1. Choose Gear Strategically
The right equipment makes a huge difference in the sounds you emit, starting with your clothing. Opt for soft, natural fabrics like wool and cotton rather than noisy synthetics like nylon or GoreTex. If clothing pieces brush or rub together, they can make audible swishing sounds, so choose items that are quiet and snug-fitting.
Your weapon should also be muted – keep bows and firearms well-maintained and lubricated to avoid any squeaks or rattles. Consider adding silencers or stabilizers to further reduce noise and vibration. Accessories like rangefinders, calls, and binoculars should have rubberized coatings to absorb sound.
For raising and lowering gear, use a rope and pulley system rather than carrying items by hand. And pack a cushion or pad to sit on to muffle subtle sounds of shifting weight. The more strategic you are in choosing “stealth mode” gear, the better.
2. Master Noiseless Movements
Practicing slow, smooth motions will help you perfect silence before you head out to the woods. Climbing into a stand tends to be noisy – avoid stomping feet by placing them gently and deliberately. Go slow, distributing your weight gradually. Sudden, jerky movements will shake branches and leaves, alerting wildlife.
Once settled in the stand, continue moving thoughtfully and efficiently. Don’t fidget, change positions frequently, or gesture unnecessarily. Have needed items within close reach to avoid noisy rummaging. If hunting with a partner, use hand signals to communicate rather than whispering. With enough practice, this measured steadiness will become second nature.
3. Consider Equipment Placement
Carefully consider where you position the equipment in the stand to minimize noise. Keep items neatly organized and within easy access so you won’t need to strain or shuffle through gear. Use a padded backpack rather than a noisy hard case. Ensure your weapon is stabilized with a shooting stick or bipod.
Avoid contact with any branches, vines, or leaves that could create unexpected sounds if brushed against. You may even want to prune troublesome vegetation around the stand. The more mindful you can be about gear placement, the better.
4. Time It Right
When you enter and exit the stand impacts noise levels. Set up well before daylight when wildlife is less active, and delay take-down until after dusk. At all costs avoid entering and exiting frequently during prime shooting hours. If possible, wait until absolute darkness before packing up.
Patience is required. You may need to sit longer than expected before the perfect shot opportunity arises. But resisting the urge to climb down early will keep sounds to a minimum. Be willing to put in extended silent hours and your odds of success will climb.
5. Use Scent Strategically
Consider using scent-masking sprays, clothing, or wipes to hide human odors that could give you away, even if you are completely quiet. Play the wind right by keeping air currents blowing from the game toward you rather than vice versa. Avoid strong perfumes or smoking which produce noticeable odors that linger.
You can also use doe in estrous or other deer scents to your advantage, dispersing them away from your location to distract or confuse the game. Just ensure you don’t contaminate your own stand area with giveaway scents. Used correctly, scents add another layer of stealth.
6. Mind Your Surroundings
Once settled into your stand, become closely acquainted with the area. Note any vines, twigs, or branches near you that could produce unexpected noises if brushed against. Check your perimeter for acorns or other debris that could drop loudly from trees around you.
Mark problem areas to avoid contact. You may even place a foam pad or move leaves on the ground below to mute fallen items. Constant vigilance helps you anticipate potential noises and prevents them.
7. Control Breathing
While waiting patiently for the ideal shot, consciously focus on controlling your breathing. Slow, steady, silent breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth are key. Avoid loud exhaling, coughing, or sniffing, which carry far.
If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze, ease it gently and quietly rather than an explosive outburst. Controlling breathing takes mental focus but helps you stay both calm and quiet.
8. Perfect Practice Makes Perfect
Dedicate time to practicing proper technique before you embark on a hunt. Master climbing in and out of your stand noiselessly. Work on slowing your motions and breathing. Repeat gear preparation and shooting positions until they are smooth and instinctual.
The more you rehearse and fine-tune your technique, the more your silence skills will crystallize. You can even practice in your backyard, asking your family to alert you to any noises you produce. Focused training breeds mastery.
9. Patience Is Paramount
Once you’ve honed your noiseless skills, don’t lose patience and give yourself away. The perfect shot may take an hour or many hours to materialize. Avoid bored fidgeting or unnecessary movement. Mentally prepare to wait as long as needed.
If wildlife gets spooked by another hunter’s sound, stay put. More games will emerge. With patience, persistence, and silence, your time will come.
A fundamental hunting skill that might be the difference between bagging a big buck and heading home disappointed is maintaining stealth. But keep your expectations in check; if you turn out all noise, nothing is certain. Certain tiny noises are unavoidable. Instead of expecting ultimate perfection, aim for small advancements with each hunt.
You can increase your confidence by using the proper methods and equipment, fine-tuning your hearing, and moving slowly. You’ll eventually ascend into your tree stand equipped with your trademark hunting skills of patience, stillness, and deadly focus.