Dig a Small Pond to Steer Bucks to Your Tree Stand

OUT SCOUTING one spring, a buddy and I walked a ridge so blitzed by bucks the previous fall that we couldn't go 25 feet in any direction without bumping into a scrape or rub. There was actually too much sign, and it posed the same problem as too little: where to hang the stand?

Our answer was to pick a good tree and make it the right spot for an ambush by digging a small pond right beside it. The following November, a friend shot a huge Pope and Young 9-pointer that had stopped there for a drink. With a few hand tools and a little sweat, you can add water to steer deer to your stand, too. Here's how:

[1] PICK A SPOT

Put your pond in or near security cover, such as a brushy transition area, an overgrown logging road, or a forested ridge. Big bucks are more likely to visit these hidden spots, and the shade will protect the water from evaporation by wind and sun.

[2] CHOOSE A TREE

Select one that will take advantage of the prevailing wind, keep the sun out of your face, and offer good concealment. Now probe the soil nearby with a spade. If there are too many large rocks, you may want to look for another suitable tree.

[3] HAUL IN THE TUB

A 100-gallon plastic landscaping tub is reasonably light and fairly easy to get into the woods. The simplest way is to drag yours--carefully--behind a four-wheeler. But you and a buddy can accomplish the task with a little bit of manpower.

[4] START DIGGING

Use a quality steel spade for loose soil and a pickax to loosen rocky spots or sever tree roots. Dig a hole large enough to fit the tub, then backfill with dirt along the sides so that runoff drains into your pond. Now lean a wrist-size stick against one side to allow rodents that fall in to escape.

[5] WAIT

If there's rain in the forecast, nature may fill the pond. But if time is short and the weather is dry, it's possible to haul in water as long as you can drive close to the site. Either way, check the water hole for tracks a few days after it's filled. By then, your manufactured hot-spot may already be drawing bucks.

JOB REQUIREMENTS

TOOLS: Shovel and pickax

MATERIALS: 100-gallon plastic landscaping tub or livestock tank (available at most garden- or farm-supply stores)

TIME TO COMPLETE: 3-5 hours COST: About $60 for the tub