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Enclosed Stand Height


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Me and my buddy are starting to plan for building a few nicer enclosed deer stands next year. Having a debate about how tall they need to be. He says if they are enclosed you can be lower, like 8ft to the bottom of the base, I say we should go 13-14ft to the bottom of the base, maybe even a little higher.

a little background....the land we own is basically in the big woods. We only own 10acres, but it abuts literally thousands of acres of thick cedar bog. So the spots we hunt are on shooting lanes or just small openings in the forest that we have found. So when we get an opportunity to harvest a deer, it is typically right on top of us. Many of the shots are within bow range. Some a little further.

This is why I think we need to be higher. Might get away with lower in some instance, but best to be a little higher. I agree with my bud if we were on the edge of a field and taking long shots. But that isn't the case.

any thoughts/opinions would be appreciated.


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Are you thinking about the difficulty of building something 14 feet to the base or just about the hunting opportunities it represents?

As for building it -

The higher you go the more expensive it will be simply because you will have to buy more and longer legs. I think the longest treated posts you can get are 16 feet although you may be able to custom order something longer. But at 16 feet with a 14 foot floor you are only going to have about 2 feet in the ground - not enough I would suspect. What type of soil is there - sand, clay, maybe mucky stuff?

As you plan this out learn about the need for structure and strength on the underside of the build. Cross bracing, etc. The more elaborate you plan on getting with the inside the stronger the building base has to be. I would bet that you end up with the floor at 11 or 12 feet.

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it all depends on the views you have from the heights you are considering...just like when climbing into a tree with my climber. sometimes the higher I go the less visibility I have. So I would say plan the spot and then get up in the air in the area and determine the ideal height

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I agree, higher isn't always better. It all depends on the situation. If you get up too high you could be putting extra branches and leaves into your line of sight. Its not easy to get up and trim those branches. Much easier to stay lower and work on clearing the underbrush to create better visibility in your shooting lanes.

If you are going with a fully enclosed box stand from a concealment stand point you shouldn't have to worry too much about the deer seeing you.

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keep in mind, you won't always be young. The older you get, the tougher that climb becomes.

As one mentioned, clearing shooting lanes up high is tough.

I would think about cement anchors. But not necessarily sticking the poles in the cement, but rather securing them to cement. That way you could always move it without cutting the legs.

I would go with green-treated wood, or cedar. It costs more, but will last alot longer.

If I ever built one, I would consider getting an old heated leather bucket seat. Then you could hook it up to a 12v battery and be nice and toasty. Hell, you could put it on a swivel mount and be good to go.

When you are setting your window height, either have an adjustable chair height, or keep in mind you will have different people hunting of various heights. If your son, daughter, girlfriend, etc ever hunts out of it, they may be considerably shorter than you. If you put windows in, make sure you can slide them open quietly.

I saw one guy made one out of a handicapped portapotty. He got it cheap, and it's about the right size, and made of plastic, so it won't rot. Even someone's old fishouse might work well.

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I just went through the same decision making process last summer. I decided to build an enclosed stand for my son. He had spent the last several years in a 15 foot ladder stand. He typically got good shots at deer each season, but the wind blowing across the meadow was brutal, and made it difficult to sit for more than a few hours.

I initially planned to put the enclosed stand at the same height. I built the stand first. A 4'w x 6'l x 6.5"h. No trails or opportunities to use a vehicle or 4 wheeler to get the stand to the location, so I ended up building the floor, walls and roof so I could disassemble it, carry it piece by piece about 100 yds to the location and then reassemble it.

I built the floor out of 2x4's and 1/2" plywood. The walls are 2x2's with 1/4" plywood. The roof is 3/8" plyood because I had a piece already.

(I found out a 6' x 6.5' wall isn't exactly easy to carry through the woods alone.)

As far as the height, like I said I started with the idea of making it 15'. Given the weight of the stand, I dropped that to 12', and then to 10'. Now that it's up, truly think 8' would be just as good. As it was it took 6 guys and a pulley system to raise it safely.

Love the stand though, and it really makes it easy to sit for long periods of time.

I hope this helps. Good Luck!

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This is why I love this HSOforum! Thanks everyone.

Right now we have 15ft ladder stands at all our spots. Line of sight is fine, but if we went much higher than that it could become a problem. Never thought about the getting older viewpoint either as I am what some would call a young buck yet. Since these stands are going to be built to last, that is definitely something to consider.

Appreciate all the tips. My guess is we will build them somewhere in between. Maybe 10 to 12 ft.

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we have quite a few now on our property. I would agree that 8-10 feet is a good height especially in the big woods. The higher you go the more difficult it is, especially building the roof. Our most common size is a 4 by 6 with a wall height of 7' slanting down to 6.5'. I like 2x4's for corners, just a bit stronger than 2x2's. a small heater is plenty to keep this size warm and it is plenty big enough if you have a hunting companion.

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I agree, higher isn't always better. It all depends on the situation. If you get up too high you could be putting extra branches and leaves into your line of sight. Its not easy to get up and trim those branches. Much easier to stay lower and work on clearing the underbrush to create better visibility in your shooting lanes.

This is huge right here, thinking about lowering one of my stands because I can't even trim branches with a limb saw. Built it when I was young and dumb.

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Thanks everyone.

Has anyone had an experience where building a big enclosed stand changed/ruined the quality or number of deer seen in that spot?

I also worry about this happening. personally I like to keep my spots as natural as possible. I think I do very minimal trimming compared to most people. I worry that building a big stand will screw my spot up. Especially being in the big woods.

My buddy built a big box stand on our old hunting grounds and it seemed to change how good the spot was.

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I know in South Dakota it doesn't seem to matter but those deer are generally farther away. I've hunted spots there before blinds and after and frankly can't recall any difference. My cousin convinced me years ago that especially after a few days of gun season and in years where you have snow you can watch the deer's tracks (big woods) and see them avoid stands. I don't know if that is scent related or the visual stand itself.

For most people the enclosed stand makes you more comfortable and therefore you can stay there longer and that could be a benefit that at least lessons the fact that deer can be skittish.

Just enjoy the new project and hunt it but also keep multiple other spots available so when your confidence is low you can see some newer territory.

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I believe the deer get use to them pretty quickly. The fall I finished an enclosed stand the end of september and on the gun opener had deer walking right under the stand.

Given the way deer walk through my yard, between the house and a 4 lane highway, and the way they herd up on the lawn of our lake cabin on Vermilion, I wouldn't worry about it. It is just another feature in the landscape.

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On the "getting used to them" idea. In my experience that has a lot to do with where one is located and the type of deer you're talking about. If a box stand is placed in an area that deer pretty much need to or really desire to travel through...very little impact will be noticed. If one is placed in a big woods setting where deer can simply alter their main travel route 100 yards in any direction to avoid the new "intrusion" they will oftentimes do so. I have also noticed that mature bucks will avoid them permanently...if they can...which comes back to my earlier location comment.

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IMHO, its less to do with the stand and more to do with overhunting a spot. I threw up my popup blind on a platform stand 20 yards from a major trail and saw no difference in travel. I only hunted it twice a week during the rut for two weeks but had does and bucks 5-10 yards away while running a Mr Buddy Heater inside. : )I think you can get away with more in Farm Country and the Burbs like where I am thought too. Deer are uses to human activity so long as they don't feel there is a threat.

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It would seem to me that having a valid opinion on this issue would be a bit difficult. I think you would have to spend an awful lot of time checking out the movements of deer over a wide range of time before you could really know the answer. But even then you wouldn't necessarily have the correct "cause" for the change in pattern.

But is does seem to me that first of all you have to be outside to see a deer and be able to shoot it. Secondly the more comfortable you are the longer you are likely to be outside.

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This is a little unrelated, but I thought I would share because I found it interesting.

I figit alot. I get uncomfortable in a tree stand a little quicker than I would like. 3 hours is about my limit. If i start sitting an hour before shooting light, that's only going to get me about 2 hours of hunting time before I want to get down. That doesn't count the number of times I shift my weight etc. Stuff that could easily get me busted.

So I have made the transition to ground blinds. If I owned my own land, it would be a transition to elevated box blinds however. There are times when a ground blind doesn't work, say too much ground cover, but in general I like them better than a tree stand. It gives me protection from the wind, allows me to put a more comfortable seat in there, and in some cases may keep some of my stink inside a little better. Not sure on that last one.

Either way, I want to share an experience I had this year hunting with one of my blinds.

We hunt land that is primarily pasture. It has some cedars, but is mostly a transition area between woods where they bed, and crops where they feed. They walk through the pasture in somewhat random pattern-less means.

This year I discovered a jumping spot in a gap in the cedars, where they are jumping over the neighbors barb wire fence. I found a little piece of hair sticking to the fence and decided to put up a trail camera. I put the camera up about 10 yds away, facing the fence, one week before gun opener.

After the morning hunt (we sat in other locations), my brother went and retrieved the memory card from the trail camera. With much anticipation we plugged her in on the lap top (doesn't everyone bring a lap top hunting?), and walla B I N G O. In one weeks time, there were close to three dozen entries. Every morning and every evening, along with some random times throughout the day and night, there were does, and BUCKS jumping at that spot. Nothing monsterous, but nice. One little 1 1/2 yr old 7 pointer was coming through 2 and 3 times a day. A maternal doe and her two yearlings a couple times a day. One nice 8, that my nephew shot opening morning was on there twice. A bigger 3 1/2 yr old 8 was on their Thursday night right at the end of shooting light, 2 days before opener. Lots of activity.

So I looked at the spot. I couldn't put up a stand in the cedars. They are too thick, and I'd have to trim alot of branches, and it's not my land (I have permission to hunt though). There's a narrow gap between the cedars and the fence, but there's almost no where to sit without getting busted. I eventually decided to set my ground blind up about 20 yds south down the fence line, kind of "in" this down cedar tree. I thought it gave me enough cover they wouldn't notice/worry about the new blind being there. I could not have been more wrong.

I sat there Sat evening, all day sunday, and all day monday. Just the 2 yearling does came by on Sunday. I heard, what was probably their Mother, wheeze or snort or whatever you call it behind me, about that time. I've heard it before when a doe busts ya. I don't know what you call it, but it's where they blow their nose in distress.

But that was it.

So, I go on the theory that they just need to "get used to it". I'm leaving town for the week, and will be back on Friday, so I just leave the blind in place (and my trailcam, which I put the memory card back in Sunday afternoon), and I'll check it Friday afternoon for activity.

I hunt that blind Friday morning (again nothing). I pull the card, with the excitement many of you know well, and n o t h i n g. Not a dam thing. I'm on their twice. Setting it up, and pulling it, with NOTHING in between. That card was there for a week before hunting season with 36 entries, and Sunday to Friday after I set that blind up and NOTHING.

So I march right back out there and pull the blind... and set my cam again.

That was friday afternoon. By Saturday night... They were jumping again. A nice 7, a nice 8, 3 does, .... I didn't hunt there Saturday or sunday, hoping they would walk over by a couple other blinds we had within 150 yds ....

Sunday morning at 6:15 am (shooting light was 6:31), a very nice 3 1/2 yr old 10 pointer with crab claw main beams, hopped over that fence, and never came by us.


It would be interesting to leave that ground blind there for 6 months, and see if they start jumping, or if they re-route permanently.

Incidentally, I would post the video, but I'm struggling with that.

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Is your stand a cloth portable stand, if it is and there is any movement at all the deer will avoid it.

I have tried wrapping elevated blinds with cloth to hide my movement but any wind and the cloth moves and the deer look right at you.

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