Tree Stands vs. Climbing Stands vs Ground Blinds - How to Choose the Best Perch for Hunting
- 09 Oct, 2018
Over the last fifty years or so, tree stands have evolved from an obscure hunting accessory to the single most popular method of hunting large game. However, not everyone is comfortable carrying around such an ungainly contraption and thus, some hunters prefer ground blinds over tree stands. Then, there is the issue of assembling and attaching a tree stand to an appropriate tree as well as maintaining your footing and balance on a relatively small platform while perched fifteen or twenty feet above the ground where a single misstep can result in serious injury or even death. Consequently, in recent years, hunting outfitters have responded to many hunters innate fear of heights and the issue of serious injury by offering ground blinds with increasingly sophisticated features for those hunters who prefer to keep their feet planted on the ground.
In fact, tree stands are generally far more bulky than a ground blind and thus, they are more difficult to transport. Also, each type of tree stand has significant disadvantages over ground blinds. For instance, although ladder stands are the simplest type to set up, they are both relatively heavy and excessively bulky and thus, they are difficult to transport.
Also, they have to be assembled before leaning them against your chosen tree and, the ladders are visible to the deer unless you make the effort to conceal them. But, they are also perhaps the most versatile type of tree stand because they can be leaned against most any tree regardless of how straight it is or how much it leans.
Climbing stands on the other hand eliminate the need for a ladder but, there again, they are bulky and relatively heavy and, they require some degree of disassembly and reassembly before they can be used to climb a tree. In addition, they require a hunter to choose a relatively straight tree with no limbs below the hunter’s desired height which drastically limits concealment. Therefore, many hunters prefer hang-on tree stands over ladder stands or climbing stands because they lack the obvious ladder and they can be installed in trees that provide a high degree of concealment.
But, they also require a hunter to use some other means of climbing their chosen tree such as screw-in tree rungs and, they also require a hunter to cling to the side of the tree while hauling the stand up to their desired height as well as while attaching it to the side of the tree which can be somewhat difficult to say the least.
But, tree stands do provide a hunter with a much wider field of view than a ground blind does and, they often enable hunters to take shots at much longer ranges than ground blinds do. Also, because they position a hunter well above the ground, they remove the hunter from the deer’s normal field of view as well as helping to conceal their presence by dispersing their scent well above ground level. In addition, several of them feature relatively large platforms and, some even have rails to help prevent accidental falls. Thus, even though tree stands are bulky, heavy, noisy and, sometimes difficult to install, the do provide the hunter with greater visibility over a wider range when hunting in dense foliage as well as the ability to discern movement which can provide a hunter with a significant advantage over a ground blind when hunting in thick cover.
On the other hand, when hunting in more open terrain, finding a prime location to place a tree stand can be a challenge and thus, choosing to use a ground blind over a tree stand in open terrain is often a wise choice. Also, ground blinds often provide a hunter with a much wider choice of prime locations in which to hunt because they do not require an appropriate tree to attach them to. In addition, ground blinds can range from something as simple as a length of camouflage cloth or reflective material to fully enclosed tent-type blinds but, even the tent-type blinds are often much lighter and much more convenient to transport and erect than tree stands are. Plus, simple ground blinds are highly portable and thus, a hunter using a simple ground blind can hunt in multiple locations during the course of a single day.
Furthermore, even the tent-type ground blinds are no more complicated to erect than a family camping tent and, enclosed ground blinds can provide a hunter with a warm place to shelter from wind, rain, or snow. Plus, they can be used with a wide range of stools or chairs for increased comfort as well as providing a hunter with much more room to stretch their legs in. Last, because the hunter is positioned at ground level, there is no danger of inadvertently making a misstep in the excitement of firing at game and falling out of the stand and thus, ground blinds are much safer than tree stands are. However, tent-type ground blinds are far more difficult to conceal than a tree stand and, they often significantly limit a hunter’s field of view. Also, all types of ground blinds cause a hunter’s scent to be dispersed at ground level rather than well above it which can alert game to the hunter’s presence. But, at the same time, tent-type ground blinds do a far better job of concealing a hunter’s movement when readying for a shot than a tree stand does. Consequently, although tree stands tend to be more popular among avid hunters than ground blinds do, many hunters prefer ground blinds over tree stands due their ease of transport and their inherent safety as well as their ability to conceal movement.
So, because both tree stands and ground blinds each have distinct advantages and disadvantages over the other, some hunters have a marked preference for one over the other. Consequently, it is up to each individual hunter to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both types of stands and choose the type that best suits their individual needs depending on the type of terrain and weather conditions they hunt in.