Friday, October 7, 2016

Understanding Hunting Treestands

At some point as a hunter you have to make the decision whether or not you'll be hunting on the ground or from a tree.  Early on you'll notice the pros and cons of hunting each way.  Pros like the flexibility of being able to move on the fly when you're hunting on the ground or the greater field of view from a treestand. Whatever your considerations, at some point you'll need to know whether you'll be hunting on the ground or from a tree.  For those times when you feel it's best to hunt from an elevated position, here is a brief overview of the different kinds of treestands with their pros and cons.

Ladder Stands

Ladder stands are treestands where the ladder, platform and seat are all connected. They're a perfect option for hunters who have no intention of moving the stand throughout the season.  Ladder stands are also a great option for hunters with a moderate to lower fitness level becuase the larger ladder makes it easier to climb. As well they offer very stable platforms for standing or sitting because the stand is always seated on the ground.

Ladder stands have the largest platforms and seats of the four kinds of treestands.  In fact some ladder stands are large enough to seat two hunters at once which is great if you're hunting with a kid, someone inexperienced or filming a hunt.

  • Ladder stands are comfortable with large seats and platforms.
  • Some ladder stands can seat multiple hunters.
  • Ladder stands are very stable
  • Ladder stands are quiet due to the lack of moving parts.
  • Ladder stands are relatively easy to climb
  • Ladder stands have the highest weight capacities 

  • Ladder stands are heavy 
  • Ladder stands require to people to erect
  • Ladder stands are not portable


First, ladder stands have heights between 15 feet and 18 feet.  This limited height leaves your feet standing at about 12 feet from the ground leaving you within the edges of a deers peripheral vision. So consider setting up ladder stands on hill above whatever travel route you're hunting. This will get your farther out of a deers field of vision view while increasing your own field of vision.

Second, set ladder stands up in trees that have large low hanging branches whenever possible.  The large branches will break up your sihlouette and camoflage your movements.

Third, make sure the trunk of the tree you're setting up in is at least the same width of the ladder portion of the stand. This will help you and the stand go unnoticed by any wary deer.

Lastly, add brush and fallen branches around the base of ladder stands to give them more cover.

Hang On Stands

Hang on stands are one piece treestands that connect to the tree with either a chain or straps.  Hang on stands have small seats without seat backs, with a few exceptions.

Due to their small size and low weights hang on stands are pretty easy to move and erect without the help of another person.  Hang stands require climbing sticks or screw in steps in order to get into whatever tree you choose.  These climbing aids can be cumbersome, noisy and time consuming to attach your tree of choice, which will slow you down if you want to change trees on the fly.

On the other hand the versatility of hang on stands is where they shine.  Hang on stands can be placed in any tree you choose. If the tree is too large or shaped in an odd way, you can simply change out the chain or straps that support the stand with ones that will fit your favorite tree.

  • Hang on stands are portable.
  • Hang on stands work on any tree.
  • Hang on stands are light weight.
  • Hang on stands are easy to set up with one person.
  • Hang on stands are not easily detected in the tree. 

  • Hang on stands have small platforms and seats
  • Hang on stands require climbing sticks
  • Hang on stands are not comfortable
  • Hang on stands can be easier to fall from


First, attach shoulder and waist straps to the platform to make hang on stands easier to transport to and from the field.

Second, make sure you purchase the lightest weight stand you possibly can. The less the stand weighs the less fatigue you have from moving it around and setting it up.

Third, use the best and lightest ladder system you can afford. By doing this you'll make your in field set up faster and make trasporting stand far more enjoyable.

Fourth, walk around with your stand and listen for any places that make noise from metal on metal contact. Once the noisy places are found, wrap them in parachord or heat shrink to eliminate the noise made by metal on metal contact.

Lastly, always do a safety check on your hang on stands before and after the season.  When doing this check for rusted bolts, chains, frayed straps or anything else that can potentially be a hazard.

Climbing Stands

Climbing stands are treestands that have two individual parts that aid hunters in climbing trees.

Climbers tend to be a bit heavier than hang on stands.  However they make up for that weight with comfort and mobility.

Mobility is what makes climbers a great choice for public land hunters.  Climbers allow public land hunters to move quickly and easily if necessary.  Pretty much for a climbing treestand to work all you need is a straight tree between 8 inches and 22 inches in circumference and you're good to go.


  • Climbing treestands are highly portable
  • Climbing treestands are light weight
  • Climbing treestands are easy to set up
  • Climbing treestands are comfortable


  • Climbing treestands can be noisy when climbing
  • Climbing treestands are limited to straight trees
  • Climbing treestands are limited to trees 8" to 22" in circumference
  • Climbing treestands have small platforms like hang on treestands
  • Climbing treestands require a moderate fitness level to use

First, purchase the lightest climbing stand you can afford because you'll be carrying it on your back quite a bit.
Second, attach a set of backpack and waist straps to your stand to make transporting it easier and more comfortable.
Third, make sure you walk around wearing the stand prior to hunting and listen for any metal on metal contact.  The places that have the sound of metal on metal contact, wrap them in parachord, heat shrink or bike tire rubber to silence the noise.
Fourth, scout your area heavily before hunting so you can pick out possible trees before getting in the field.  There is nothing worse than trying to find a suitable tree in the dark.
Lastly, practice setting up your stand and climbing trees prior to hunting.  This practice will help you when you have to set the stand up and climb a tree in the dark.

Tower Stand

Tower stands are not treestands.  Unlike treestands they are free standing and dont require a tree for set up. Some of them are just a tripod with a seat on top.  Some tower stands even have small blinds that sit on top for the users.

The main benefit of tower stands is that they can be set up anywhere. In fact they are ideal for areas that have no suitable trees for treestands, like scrublands.

  • Tower stands are free standing 
  • Tower stands can be set up anywhere
  • Tower stands are comfortable
  • Tower stands are easy to climb

  • Tower stands are heavy
  • Tower stands require 2 or more people for setup
  • Tower stands provide no cover
  • Tower stands are noisy to set up
  • Tower stands are not portable 

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