How to Choose a Treestand – Foundry Outdoors
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How to Choose a Treestand

Hunting out of a treestand can be a great way to improve your odds. Here is a brief rundown of the different stand types if you are choosing your first treestand.

Few pursuits are as old as hunting in our history. Over the past 200,000 years or so people have likely employed any means possible to harvest animals and obtain lifesaving meat. From thrusting spears to high powered rifles, people have used the same brain that created computers, iPhones, and will likely put a man on Mars to outwit the animals to survive. Although it is likely that much knowledge of the past has been lost over the ages, our hunters of today still keep much of that ancient knowledge alive. One way of hunting that certainly is an old idea, is that of hunting out of trees.


Today, hunting from a treestand is particularly popular method of hunting. This seems especially true for animals like whitetail deer and black bear. Both of these animals can be patterned and their movements predicted somewhat easily. Long before the first European set foot on this continent Native American societies of the eastern woodlands had been hunting deer from trees for eons. Modern treestands got their start in the late 1970’s and have caught fire with hunters, especially bowhunters. Hunting from treestands is appealing for several reasons.

One of the most appealing aspects of treestands is they get a hunter above the natural line of sight for deer. Instinctively deer scan the underbrush for possible predators while they browse. They certainly can still bust you from a treestand, although your odds of being seen are much diminished. Secondly, treestands generally allow for portability and adaptability to changing deer movement. Lastly, since most models are not over-the-top expensive, many hunters choose to hang multiple stands each year to give them options on each hunt. Not only that, but climbing a tree stand is much more safe than simply climbing a tree.

If you are looking to buy a treestand and need some guidance, here are the basic types of treestands and their pros and cons.

Fixed Ladder Stands

Ladder StandThe first type of treestand is the ladder stand. Ladder stands vary in design but typically have a few standard features. First off, a solid ladder is connected from the front of the stand to the ground. Having this sort of connection provides some people with a sense of security. Secondly, ladder stands generally have some sort of rail that encircles the shooter for an even more secure feeling. Finally, ladder stands typically have features for comfort and space like spacious seats and standing platforms.

These stands are great for people who hunt the same properties year after year. The reason why is that these types of stands are heavy. You don’t want to be hauling a heavy ladder stand over miles of rugged country. Ladder stands are typically used by folks who toss them in the back of the pickup and drive right to their stand location, hang the stand, and leave it up.

Compared to the other stand types, these are the most robust, and generally impart a feeling of the most security. That security comes at a cost of total stand weight. If you have a property you’ll be hunting for years to come, and can drive close to the tree you want to hunt, a ladder stand may be a good option.

Climbing Stand

Climbing StandAn alternative to a ladder stand is a climbing stand. Climbing stands have become a popular option for people who need portability from their tree stand. These stands are built with two main parts; an upper portion with the seat and rail, and the lower platform to stand on. They also have some sort of devices that clutches the tree. They work by leveraging the stand against the tree and allow the hunter to alternately raise the upper portion, secure it against the tree, then raise the lower portion and secure it. In just a few minutes a seasoned climbing stand hunter can ascend a tree to their hunting position. If you need a better visual for how these stands work, access this link to video demonstration.

As far as advantages go, climbers are light and very portable. Their entire design concept is to allow hunters to move these stands on a whim. They are a great option for someone who wants to hunt lots of different properties without buying lots of stands. They also work well for hunters that want to get off the beaten path to some forgotten corner of public land. Also, if you are concerned about stand theft, climbers are a good option because they come and go with you.

On the downside, climbers will not work on every tree. Not only dot the trees have to be straight, but they can’t have any protruding limbs. Small limbs can quickly be removed on the way up, but larger limbs pose a significant problem. This disadvantage can be key. If you can’t find a good tree where you want to hunt, then you may be forced to hang your stand farther away from location. For bowhunters, this could quickly put you out of range.

Hanging Stands

Hanging StandThe final type of treestand is the hanging stand. Hanging stands are a sort of compromise between ladder stands and climbers. They are more portable than a ladder stand, but not as easy to set up as a climbing stand. These stands come in a variety of sizes, but do require the hunter to have some way to climb the tree. Suppliers make lightweight ladders to accompany their stands, and also offer screw-in steps to help hunters climb.

Hanging stands appear to be the most popular type of treestand today. Hunters like them because they can be attached to almost any mature tree, and they can even be packed for a distance. They also offer the advantage of being fixed for any period of length. Like a ladder stand, hanging stands can be put up and the beginning of the season, and left to hang all fall. If you plan on hunting from one tree for at least a few days, these stands might be a good option. On the other hand, if you are hunting a new property, or are planning to do some out of state hunting, they don’t take an extraordinary amount of time to setup either. That being said, they weight more than a climbing stand. Like all things in life, it all comes down to trade-offs.

Whatever type of treestand you choose, make sure it best suits your individual situation. Each style has its own advantages and disadvantages. Whatever style you pick, make sure it is something you are comfortable with, and can safely use. The biggest threat to a hunter’s safety is actually accidents from treestands. If you choose to hunt with a treestand, it is your responsibility to check your equipment, choose a good tree, and know how to properly hang a stand. It is also a good idea to wear a safety harness of some kind to protects against an accident if one occurs.

Treestands are a highly effective way to hunt. If you decide to hunt from a tree you’ll not only increase your odds at surprising your quarry, but you’ll be one of a long line of hunters that has climbed trees to have a successful hunt. Good luck and happy hunting!


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