Soon, the midsummer heat will be just a memory and thoughts and dreams turn to the upcoming deer season as the days and nights begin to cool off.

And that is one of my favorite times to tune up and often reposition those tree stands.

Some might think of it as a lot of work, but I enjoy just being in the woods and working on those whitetail dreams. And it’s productive too.

This is the best time to do any major pruning for shooting lanes, giving the woods plenty of time to settle down for opening day. Trimming out trees around a stand a week or two before the season is not enough time these days. Older deer, especially, shy away from disturbances in their households.

Of course there are always exceptions in the whitetail world. Some deer will accept a great deal of cutting. But older deer as a rule are smart and get old for a reason.

Whitetails will alert each other by stamping their feet, releasing scent from an interdigital gland in their hoof. When another deer comes into the area, it will be alerted and also stamp its feet and add to the molecular mix of danger/warning pheromones in the air. And so it goes.

Pruning and tuning in late summer gives our stand sites a chance to settle down and in prime shape for the opener.

Sometimes more is better, and in the case of stands its true. Have a number of them in the same woodlot. This way, due to the changeable nature of deer movement patterns, one stand can be hot at one time and another not. Wait a week or so and they can be reversed.

And by taking different stands we spread out our ambient scent, not concentrating it in one location.

Such a great temptation to overuse a tree stand! And how do we know when is too much?

Not only does a deer hunter leave a cone of scent downwind, every time a stand is taken, but we also leave a trail of scent every time in and back out again.

Many whitetails become alerted and we never even know they were close. They sneak past, just outside our zone of detection. Some get drawn in by our aberrant scent, check us out and slip away.

Hunting whitetails is playing the percentages. But the general rule of thumb is not to hunt out of the same stand on three consecutive days. Two is preferable. Then give that stand a few days rest and hunt another area, ideally rotating at least three different hunting spots or locations.

Generally my tree stands fall into two major categories because I like to hunt movement zones.

Sure, a few stands are on field edges, more observation stands.

The two deer stand aspects I have found most productive are necks of woods and edges, especially inside corners.

Instead of hunting right on a food source, or a rutting area (scrapes and rubs.) When we hunt a specific spot, such as the place they want to be, a hunter has a greater chance of being detected right there.

That’s why I prefer setting up the stand to get them coming in or going out. This may seem like a bit of a heretical notion, especially when it seems like all the TV pro hunters set up their stands over their food plots and crops.

Midsummer is a great time to move that stand that was a little bit too far away from observable deer movement last year.

Experience has shown me that rarely is my first stand selection the best spot. Seems like they always can be improved upon.

Also, certain limbs, small trees and brush have a peculiar habit of being exactly in the wrong place when its time to pull the trigger on bow or gun.

I like to use an extension pruner. And it often means climbing up and down into and out of the stand until the lanes are opened up just right.

I try to be judicious when I prune shooting lanes. Not too much, but just enough, leaving some cover thereby allowing whitetails (and my bow or gun movement too) to be undetected during prime time.

Oak Duke writes a weekly column appearing on the Outdoors page.