I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’ve hunted stands in the past simply because the location was close or convenient, or “my favorite.” I don’t think I’m alone here either. Hunters sitting in stands “just because” is a chronic epidemic, and it’s resulting in a lot of unfilled tags.

Since the early days of my hunting career when I hunted locations on a whim, I’ve come to realize that every time I sit in a given location there should be a myriad of clear reasons. At a minimum, I select three specific reasons for being there. I’d recommend using this “3 Factor Process” when choosing your own stand sites this season. Every time you find yourself trying to decide where to hunt, list out as many specific reasons for hunting your preferred stand. If you can articulate at least three clear reasons for hunting it, you get the green light. If not, it’s time to explore a new option.

Here’s an example from my opening weekend archery hunt in Ohio this year. When choosing my stand site for Sunday night, I ticked off the following three factors:

1. My game camera had captured daylight photos of a mature buck within the past week near this stand.

2. The stand was located on a ridge covered in oaks that were dropping acorns. The ridge also connected a major bedding area to large crop fields beyond.

3. The West wind would blow my scent away from the ridge-top travel corridor and out over the valley below and behind me.

All of those factors combined to create some pretty compelling evidence. This season, don’t hunt a stand “just because.” Instead, use this “3 Factor Process” to ensure you’re hunting with a purpose, and get ready to notch your tag.