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stands

Selecting where to make a stand is one of the most important parts of predator hunting. Stand selection is where you prepare to make or break the game. You can make two hundred stands in a day, but if there isn't a varmint within earshot of those stands you will be wasting valuable hunting time calling to the magpies.

Scouting

You first have to locate an area that has a good population of predators. That means doing some scouting. You can either locating them visually or locating sign that they have been in the area recently. You usually will have better luck at finding sign instead of visual sighting, normally Mr. Wiley isn't going to sit out in the open during the day. There are several things you should look for when looking for signs.

  • Tracks - Look at the track and the medium that it is made it. Look for tracks that are fresh and sharp. The appearance of the track will depend on its age and what it was made in.

  • Scat - This is about the best way to tell when something has been through the area recently. Look for fresh, dark stuff. Scat that is dried up and faded has been there quite a while and while it does tell you that something has been in the area, it's not fresh and isn't that great of a sign.

  • Bedding or Denning area - These are great to find. There is usually quite a bit of other sign around these areas.

Parking

Parking? Huh? Yup, Parking! Unless you are very lucky and live within walking distance of your calling areas you are going to have to drive. One thing that you want to remember when you are getting ready to park the car to make a stand... keep the thing put of sight as much as possible. It falls back on that 'stopping vehicle' thing. If you stop and park where they can see you or where you call them in and they see your vehicle nine times out of ten they are going to bust out of there pretty quick. Use draws, hills or whatever you can to try and keep it out of sight. Even if you have to hike in a bit, do not park or stop where they can see your vehicle as they approach your stand. Animals quickly learn that a moving vehicle isn't much of a danger, but once it stops to either lay low or get out of there quick.

Getting to Your Stand

If you are hunting with a partner, on the way to your stand go over the general calling sequences and tactics that you will be using in that area. It will cut down on talking after getting out of your vehicle and makes life a whole lot easier if you either call something in or something hangs up and your partner thinks that the stand is a bust and stands up to leave. Use either radios or a set calling sequence, such as two long blows of a varmint call or several quick squeaks on the mouse squeaker, to let your partner know that the stand is a bust or that you see something coming in that he or she might not.

Before you even get out of your vehicle. Remember this...DO NOT SLAM THE DOOR!!!  Close the door as quietly as you can. The sound of a door slamming shut can carry a long way out in the open and animals will home in on that sound and unless you are hiking in a long way, your stand is more then likely going to be a bust.

There are a few key tactics to remember when moving into your stand:

  • Move quietly - Don't trudge through thick brush, breaking branches and stuff will just alert anything in the area to your presence. Use the birds in the area as an indicator of how quietly you are moving.

  • No Talking above a low whisper - Your voice carries a lot further then you think it does. Animals also have really keen hearing and can pick up on it from a long distance away.

  • Do not skyline yourself - Stay below ridgelines. Do not allow yourself to break a ridge for very long, if at all.

  • Take the best route to your stand - Take the route that will expose you the least to the area you are calling. Use draws and gullies to cover your approach to your stand. Remember though, don't trudge right through a perfectly good looking spot to get to your stand.

 

 

Stand Selection

Ok, now you are approaching your stand. Where do you want to setup and what makes one stand better then another? In selecting a stand there are three very important things to remember.

  • Concealment - Try and select a stand where you have something behind you to help break up your outline. Trees, bushes, sagebrush all work well. Do not park yourself right out in the open as any movements made by you will be very visible to any approaching animals.

  • Visibility - Select a stand that offers you the best visibility in that area. Predators sometimes come to the call directly, while the majority of the time they want to move downwind and see if anything smells different or out of place. You want to be able to cover as much ground as possible when the time comes to shoot. A tree or bush in the shooting lane can make or break you if your quarry decides that it wants to stop behind it.

  • Wind - Keep a close watch on the wind. Select your stand on the downwind side of the area you want to call. Remember to also keep a close eye on your downwind side once calling starts. Predators love to work downwind to try and make out what is making that bunny scream like that.

A few good tips that I personally use when selecting a stand:

  1. Watch the wind the wind direction.

  2. Select a stand below the ridgeline, usually I try to get about 1/3rd of the way down from the ridge.

  3. Select an area that provides good natural cover and gives good visibility of the area I am calling to.

  4. Watch for game trails on the way into a stand, they can both provide a way for the predator to get in and out without being seen, especially in tall grass or sagebrush.

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