If you hunt in a forested area, it can be a challenge to walk into your treestand quietly. Here is one simple trick you can do to access a stand without noise: use a backpack blower prior to opening day.
I use a backpack blower to remove leaves, sticks and debris to create a relatively clean path that will be very quiet for walking all the way to my stand.
Not only will a clean access path allow me to walk on bare ground and make minimal noise, but there’s an additional benefit: Dry leaves are very porous and can hold scent. Bare ground probably holds less scent that a sponge bed of leaves. Whitetails rarely detect where I’ve walked when I approach a stand using a path prepared with a backpack blower.
An additional benefit is the cleared path makes finding my stand before daylight very simple. I have to use only a very small light. The minimal disturbance entry (M.D.E.) made possible by using this technique is well worth the effort to create the path.
One potential negative of using the technique is deer will often walk the leaf-free path. That’s not a problem as long as they aren’t walking it at the same time as the hunter! Another potential problem is that a “stand pirate” might follow the path to your ambush location. If you’re worried about stand pirates (friends that aren’t really friends), then don’t blow a path all the way to the road. Stop about 100 yards from the road and it will be much harder for thieves to find your cleared access trail.
Editor’s note: Be sure to check out Dr. Grant Woods and his popular on-demand web series that shares current information about deer hunting and deer management. The free videos focus on what the Growing Deer team of experienced hunters and deer managers are doing in the field week to week, including action-packed hunts, proven hunting strategies, habitat management, food plots, trail camera techniques and the gear it takes to get it all done.
Images by Dr. Grant Woods