Getting some distance between yourself and deer is great, but arbitrarily hanging treestands super high is just a bad idea.
Many bowhunters think of 20 feet up as the benchmark for treestand hunting. But as we’ve learned more about the science of scent, some push that number to 30 — and even higher.
It’s true that adding a few feet to your setup can keep your scent flowing away from your stand at a greater height too. And in some scenarios, hanging an extra climbing stick could keep you out of a whitetail’s line of sight.
But while hanging from 30 feet has some benefits, shooting from such high heights creates steep shooting angles and significantly cuts the margin for error, making a double lung shot incredibly challenging.
Shot placement becomes even more important yet exponentially more difficult — a few extra yards up the tree could turn a chip shot into a trick shot.
The higher the stand, the more you’ll have to compensate and adjust the aim-for distance to hit that small window at the vitals. You’ll have to hold low, but knowing exactly how much can be tough without an angle-compensating rangefinder.
Many hunters struggle to maintain proper form when shooting at this steep angle, resulting in clean misses or worse — a wounded animal.
Hunting from a higher elevation also means more safety risk when hanging and climbing into stands, even if you’re wearing a harness and using a lineman’s rope.
So given the downsides, is there ever a case for hanging high?
Like most bowhunting debates, there’s no one hard and fast rule that applies across the board, but generally hanging at a modest height around the 20-foot mark is best.
You can get skylined at any height if you don’t consider the terrain and cover. Some setups work at just 8 feet and others at 25 feet.
Regardless of whether you’re hanging from 10 feet, 20 feet, or 30 feet, you should always practice shooting from that same height. Hang a similar stand in your backyard and get plenty of reps in before hunting season. Remember to bend at the waist to place your pin on target rather than lowering your bow arm. And if you don’t have one already, invest in an angle-compensating rangefinder. Diligently follow these steps, and you can be successful at any height, within reason. But don’t just get higher off the ground because some self-proclaimed expert told you to.