I spent most of last weekend hanging from a tree and working a property in western Illinois with Aaron Milliken and two other buddies from the Whitetail Properties crew. We were scouting, hanging stands, and planting food plots for a hunt coming up this November.

We hung 8 sets (mostly utilizing Lone Wolf Alpha Tech F1 hang-ons) while Milliken worked on a 4-acre food plot that had been consumed by 14-foot tall ragweed over the summer. The idea was to have each set hunt-ready: shooting lanes cut, trail cleared and marked, ropes and bow holders hung. This way we won’t have to return to the stand sites and risk spooking deer until the season starts.

After 3 straight days of working on stand locations, I learned some important lessons about critical gear. We had most of the stuff on the list below, and the items we didn’t have, we should’ve.

So, if you’re working on stands this weekend, make sure you’ve got…

1) Safety Harness or climbing belt: Sling a line around the tree and tether yourself in. It takes about 45 seconds to do and it will make it easier to work with your hands free … it could also save your life.

2) Pole Saw: Great for trimming shooting lanes. Get in the stand and point out obstructive branches to your buddy on the ground.

3) Machete: Clears plant life in a hurry.

4) Chainsaw: Never leave home without one.

5) Safety glasses: This is especially crucial if you’re using a pole saw and cutting limbs above you.

6) Basic First-Aid Kit: See our survival blogger’s recommendations here.

7) Tool kit (hammer, ratchet set, wrenches, screwdrivers, ect): If you spend a long day working in the woods, something is guaranteed to break.

8) Duct Tape (see number 7).

9) Orange flagging tape: Don’t lose the stands you’ve hung.

10) Glow tacks: Stick these at eye-level or a little higher to mark the way in and out of your stand. You’ll be able to sneak in and out after dark without straying off course.

11) Bug Repellent: You can’t swat mosquitoes and run a chainsaw at the same time.

12) Bow Rope and Bow Hanger: Set these up now so that you aren’t banging around in the dark on the morning of opening day.

13) Compass: Check the true direction that your stand is facing to plan for wind.

14) Work Gloves: You’ll be happy to have’em when the one good tree on the field edge is wrapped in poison oak.