Tips & Tactics

Reverse Trail Blazing II

Reverse Trail Blazing II

By Jon Harris and Tim H. Martin

My tip expounds on a stand location trick by Tim H. Martin on how to come and go like a ghost (see Reverse Trail Blazing I, below).

For years, I’ve used a method similar to what Tim described, but I’ve added a twist.

In reverse trail blazing, deer definitely use the easy-to-follow main trail and often, they make it all the way to the base of my tree. Because they come so close, I get busted sometimes.

Here’s my twist.

I make my main trail continue past my stand several yards away, so deer will go right by. To get to my stand, I create a smaller trail forking off the main trail at a 90 degree angle.

This smaller path acts a shooting lane, and it solves the problem of deer coming too close.

Reverse Trail Blazing I

Here's a way to come and go like a ghost.

— By Tim H. Martin

I like to hunt in the hard to get to places.

This often means finding a stand site where most hunters won't go, simply because it's too hard to get there quietly. These are the places where the big bucks are!

Here in Alabama, some of the places I like to hunt are thorny, surrounded by deadfall and seem downright impenetrable. But, with some extra effort and preparation, getting to and from these spots can be done. I like to blaze a trail to my treestand, only in reverse.

First, know where you want to go. In pre-season, scout for and locate the exact tree you'd like to hunt from. I like to find the sweet spots immediately after hunting season ends and prepare them for the next year.

You'll need tools.

Bring a machete, limb saw, pruning shears, rake, hatchet or axe, even a chainsaw if there are any fallen trees.

If possible, use an ATV to bring your tools when you hang the stand and plan your path out.

Go to your tree and hang your stand, then plan your escape route. Look for the quietest path of least resistance.

Driving the ATV over briars, sticks and thick brush will help pave the way and flatten things down. Use the machete to remove thick growth, small trees and briars. Use the rake to clear leaves in your path. Use the chainsaw to remove a passable section from larger fallen trees.

In essence, remove or trim back any obstacle you might trip over in the dark, anything that could cause you to lose the trail or make noise when come and go. You want to move like a ghost.

Now, test your new path. Walk to and from the stand, thinking ahead to when you'll next use it and remembering it will likely be dark. Can you get there quietly now?

Some hunters like to mark their confusing trials with orange tape, reflective thumbtacks or some other easy-to-see trail marker. These are fine, but remember, you'll want to keep your new honey hole a secret!

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