One of the most frequently neglected aspects of bow hunting whitetail is the organization of your tree setup. Your ambush needs to be switched on and deadly efficient. So many bow hunters get to the tree, climb in, hang their pack and bow up, sit down, and wait without another thought to organizing things into a system.
Where do you hang your bow and why? Where do you hang your quiver and why? Where do you hang your pack and why? Is your pack open or closed and why? These are just a few of the simple things that can literally make or break you.
When setting up my ambush, my first consideration is bow placement.
Because we are more accurate with ours bows standing, I want to be standing when I take my shot. (Though we know that can’t always be the case, so we must practice sitting down). I strategically position my bow from a screw-in or strap-on bow hanger out in front of me, at the right height so that it takes absolute minimal movement to grip the bow and be ready to draw. Be thoughtful about bow placement; just screwing your hanger in and hanging your bow on it halfway around the tree isn’t good enough.
Next, where is our quiver?
Is it just hanging on a limb some place or hanging on our pack? It should be positioned to allow for a swift one-handed move to grab the second arrow. To maintain limited movement in the case of a miss, I prefer a two “fastener” quiver and position it with the broadheads pointing down. Then, if needed, gravity can help me and literally release my second arrow from the bottom fastener, so that I can have it in my hand and ready to load right away, without ever taking my eyes off the buck.
What about your pack? Where is it located? What all might you need out of it?
This is really where the ASIO pack shines – the outside of the pack is made from fleece, so it is super quiet. You can leave the giant top pouch unzipped, so you have quick access to calls, your wind checker, back up release, and cough drops. (Learned this lesson the hard way – always have cough drops close by because a sneeze or cough at the wrong time can ruin all your hard work.) How about a water bottle? The ASIO pack has an open slash pocket on the outside so that you can get to your water bottle without having to unzip anything.
Once I climb up, I want to make as little noise as possible, and the ASIO pack does just this – 4 big outside pockets so everything from tree hangers to bow hangers to wind checkers to binos and releases can be right there for absolute efficiency and minimal movement and noise.
If you incorporate these little things in to making your ambush more lethal and efficient, I can assure you it will go a long way when out of nowhere that giant appears and you have to act quickly – with the proper pack and setup and your gear positioned correctly, you can rest easy and dial right in to make the shot that has to go now!