You should be at least 10 feet off the ground when hunting deer from a tree stand. The higher you go, the easier it will be for you to remain unnoticed by approaching deer. Terrain will always dictate how high you can go.
On food plot edges or open fields, a higher stand is generally better. This will give you a larger field of view so you can spot deer sooner. So for most gun hunters that are taking longer shots 15-25ft up is a normal height. Being around 20ft up will help disperse your scent and most deer are not looking up that high as they approach. This will keep you from being busted by a deer moving in behind you if you are sitting still and doing your part.
Typically bow hunters are hunting more dense areas. Being higher in a tree will often limit your field of view. When I set a tree stand I want my feet to be above the leaves of the lowest branches and limbs. This provides better background cover if a deer is looking at you. Instead of blending in to a tree trunk you are blending in to leaves and branches.
Finding the best field of view in a tree stand
In most areas with mature trees there is a clearly defined field of view. Being too low you will not be able to see over the underbrush and forest floor foliage. If you get up too high you will be looking into other treetops and will only have an open shot if looking at a 45 degree downward angle. By finding a tree with branches starting at or below the average height of your surroundings you can then set you stand to where you feet are at the same level as the lowest branches. This will give you plenty of background coverage for camouflage and also allow you to see a good ways into the surrounding areas UNDER the lowest limbs of the surrounding trees.
Calculate the best position for a bowhunting tree stand
If you’re like me you have probably decided that 40 yards is your max distance to take a shot on an animal. Once you have a tree targeted for a stand walk out 40 yards in your pre-determined shooting directions and mark it. This can be accomplished with small marking flags or just digging up a small dirt marker. You can then climb the tree with your stand and see how high you can get while still being able to make a shot to your maximum distance.
You may find that in order to have good camouflage coverage you need to climb higher in your stand. This may make it impossible to see 40 yards depending on how thick the surrounding tree coverage is. Conversely you may find that you can go higher and still see the markers easily. My suggestion is that you go as high as possible without limiting your shot distances.
Scouting for a good tree stand location
If you’re a newer hunter you may need help finding a suitable tree. Maybe you want to know how to scout an area to find the best location for a tree stand. Check out my article on scouting tips and get your questions answered.
If you’re looking for a fantastic budget friendly tree stand check out x-stands. They have very comfortable climbing stands that are sturdy and quiet. X-stands also has very affordable hang on stands that will give you a great fixed option.