John's Journal...

Click to enlargeHOW TO PICK A STAND SITE

Stadium Seats for Bucks

EDITOR’S NOTE: You can’t bag a buck if you don’t see the animal. The key to seeing more bucks on every hunt is knowing how to choose the most-productive stand sites. Many hunters choose their stand sites using too little information.

The best way to find a stand site for deer is to utilize the same procedure you use to find your seat at a football game. According to Bo Pitman, the manager of White Oak Plantation near Tuskegee, Alabama, and long-time hunting guide, “An aerial photo is like having a ticket to get into a stadium for a football game. On an aerial photo, you can look at how the ground lies. Each piece of property is different, and you’ll have to hunt it differently. Also, with Click to enlargean aerial photo, you can identify the road systems to enter and leave where you’re hunting, the natural barriers, property lines, bodies of water, large fields and funnels. You can even distinguish between pinewoods and hardwood sites on an aerial photo. The textures of the two types of trees will appear different. Hardwoods will be small, round, blob-looking things on an aerial, since you’re actually seeing the tops of the trees. Pine trees will have a smoother texture to them.”

Pitman, who also uses topographical maps to pinpoint land changes where he hunts, terms topographical maps as how he locates the section of the stadium where his ticket should allow him to sit. “After I study aerial photos to get me into the land, then I use topo maps to help me find the very-best places to hunt on that property,” Pitman continues. “On topo maps, I look for ridges, valleys and terrain breaks. However, the problem associated with using topo maps is they often are not up-to-date. Usually aerial photos are shot more frequently and contain more up-to-date information. In the Southeast where I primarily hunt, one year a field may be planted in cotton, and three years later loblolly pine 10-feetClick to enlarge tall may be growing there. But to find the row and the seat that is the best seat at a football game, which is similar to determining where the most-productive place is for me to sit to bag a buck, I’ll have to begin as soon as deer season is over to check the ground. I’ll walk carefully over the spots I’ve located on the aerial photos and the topo maps and look for shed antlers. These antlers will give me an idea of how many and what size bucks are still on the property. Also, I can find where the deer are bedding and feeding and pinpoint their rutting trails. Although you can wait until summer to do this on-the-ground scouting, I feel I’m more successful when I scout immediately after deer season ends. Too, in the summer, you have to contend with spider webs, snakes and dense undergrowth when you’re trying to find the best seat in the stadium for your stand Click to enlargesite. I choose all my stand sites for the next season as though I plan to bow hunt from them. I want the stands to be close to where I expect the deer to appear. Then, I can take a shot at a deer with a bow at 10 yards or less. Also, I pick the most-direct route to and from my stand site so as not to disturb the deer in the area.”

To learn more about Bo Pitman and his expert hunting tactics, you can purchase John E. Phillips’ book, “How to Take Monster Bucks – Secrets to Finding Trophy Deer”. To learn more about this book, go to You can send a check or a money order to Night Hawk Publications, 4112 Camp Horner Road, Birmingham, Alabama 35243, or use the PayPal address


Check back each day this week for more about HOW TO PICK A STAND SITE

Day 1: Stadium Seats for Bucks
Day 2: Public Land Stands
Day 3: Green-Field Stand Sites
Day 4: Escape Trails
Day 5: Water Stands



Entry 322, Day 1