Right Treestand for The Perfect Ambush
published in Great Canadian
ninety percent of hunters prefer hunting from
treestands and quite rightly so. Hunting from an elevated position will
hunter above the sight and smell of an animal. Hunting from a
other methods such as stalking and deer drives, is a low impact method
means that a hunter is less likely to get patterned by deer or alert
other ways of his presence. However,
make treestand hunting work to your advantage the often-overlooked
choosing the right stand model for you and the area you hunt is very
Given the large variety of models and brands available, choosing the
treestand can be a daunting task. To help you make the right stand
article will explain the most important considerations that should
the choice of stand that’s right for you.
treestands are divided into four models.
These are: fixed position stands, climbing stands, ladder stands and
not strictly a treestand, tripod stands fall into that category too. In
moment I will discuss each model and its advantages and disadvantages
detail with you. But first let’s look at what all stands
should have in common
regardless of model, type or brand.
hunter should be aware that no matter what
stand is chosen they all require some agility and strength to transport
set up. In the many years I have hunted from treestands I have yet to
model that is comfortably light to transport for much more than a
Even the lightest models can be of considerable weight when combined
climbing sticks or screw-in steps. A light quality stand weighs around
10 to 14
pounds but add to that the weight of the steps at (give or take)
another 6 to 8
pounds and you could end up with close to or just over 20 pounds that
to haul on your back to your stand location.
strongly recommend going with a stand that has
been manufactured by a member of the Treestand Manufacturer Association
Members of this organization periodically undergo unannounced product
and quality checks to guarantee quality of the materials and
Stands from TMA members usually are a little bit more expensive than
non TMA members. In my opinion a few extra dollars are well spent on a
that potentially could kill you if poorly manufactured with cheap
is for the same reason that I do not recommend using a D-I-Y-stand made
x 4’s nailed to a tree. These contraptions are just not safe
to use in the long
good treestand should have a decent sized
standing platform of at least 20
inches by 29 inches and a comfortably sized
and padded seat. There is nothing worse than sitting perched like a
crow on a
branch for up to six or more hours on an uncomfortable stand. An
seat will make treestand hunting a battle of endurance and lead to
around and this in turn alerts deer to your presence. The standing
should be of a size that lets you shift your feet comfortably without
look down to see if your toes or heel hang over the edge of the
platform. In my
opinion a platform of around 22” by 30” is just
about right for an average size
and weight person.
treestand has to be easy to install and hang
onto the tree. It is a very different matter to hang a stand onto a
both feet on the ground compared to 15 feet or more feet off the ground
your feet balancing on a narrow metal rod step and your upper body tied
tree trunk. I like fixed stand models that come with a hanging bracket.
permits me to hang the stand onto the bracket that is attached to the
trunk, freeing both my hands up to fasten the stand to the tree versus
only one hand free to install the stand.
a climbing treestand I look for the same things
as in a fixed stand: comfort and a decent sized standing platform. In
I like climbing stands that can be quickly and quietly assembled with
few pins. It is easy to assemble a stand in daylight with lots of
straps, nuts and bolts making the need for tools necessary. But try
task before daylight, when most of these stands are assembled during a
hunt. It could end up a frustrating nightmare placing all the tiny nuts
bolts in the right position. Forget it if you happen to drop a small
the dark, you never will find it again on the forest floor.
treestand manufactures have become more concerned about practicality
climbing stand models that do not need any assembling. All that is
to adjust the climbing wires to the diameter of the tree trunk and
order for a treestand to be of any use as an
element of a surprise ambush the stand has to be quiet to transport and
from. A stand that rattles as you walk through the woods or is
popping each time you move on it is worthless. All stands can at times
popping noise, especially when the temperature falls below freezing.
Here I am
talking about stands that produce noise constantly and in my experience
with riveted rather than welded frames are the culprits.
summarize what all stands should have in
common:A good quality stand wears the TMA seal of approval, is safe to
comfortable to sit on, easy to install and quiet. The brand name of the
is of no consideration to me– what is important is the model
brands is like discussing cars.
Each person has his or her favorite. There are those that like Fords
who prefer Chevy's. It’s the same with treestand brands. If
you’re in the market
for a new stand try out as many models as you can to find the one that
close to suit your needs of comfort and the environment you intend to
lets look at the different models of stands in
or fixed model stands are the most commonly
used stands. Of all the stand models this is the most versatile of all
relatively easy to set up. The hang-on stands come in a variety of
some even have features that let you adjust for leaning and bent tree
The stand is a simple straightforward design consisting of a main beam
sitting and standing platform attached. The
seat and platform can be
folded for compact transport and storage.
stand is attached to the tree with a chain
hookup or webbing belt and ratchet or cinch buckle systems. Some stands
a stabilization cinch buckle belt to stabilize it to the tree and other
use the standing platform. I prefer the latter because it makes the
solid on the tree without adding another strap. Once the stand is
the tree the platform is pulled down, creating a lever action that
stabilizes the stand on the tree. There are also models that can be
brackets. The hunter can purchase as many treestand brackets as he
install them at different locations. This system has the advantage that
one stand is needed and if the hunter changes location all he has to do
hook the stand onto the pre-installed brackets.
hang-on stand is easy to transport and
relatively light. Most hang-on stands weigh between 11 lbs to 17 lbs.
at the hunter’s physical ability it may make two persons
necessary to set it
up. With the variety of models and hookup systems available there is
tree where this stand cannot be attached to, and that makes it one of
mount and access the hang-on stand some sort of
climbing device is necessary. There are two models of climbing sticks
market. One model requires that the individual sections are connected
and then, with ratchet straps, attached to the tree truck. The other
consists of singe units that are individually connected to the tree.
that can be individually screwed into the tree are another option and
great versatility but take a long time to install. I prefer the single
sticks because it lets me navigate branches and bent tree trunks better
solid 15 foot stick.
do not consider the hang-on stand a portable
stand because set up takes at least five to ten minutes not including
it takes to prepare the stand site- even for an experienced hunter.
these stands are affordable and having more than one stand setup does
hunter the option to change locations quickly if needed.
next most popular treestand model is the
climbing treestand. Since the first stands of this type were introduced
years ago climbers have come a long way in regards to comfort, safety
of setting up. Some climbing stand models are every bit as comfortable
favorite TV chair at home. The old, complicated-to-assemble and noisy
rattle-traps have been replaced by stands that need very little or no
at all. Modern climbing stands are light in comparison to the older
with a bit of practice very quiet to transport and set up.
problem with climbing stands is that they only
can be used on straight trees of a relatively small diameter. Most
this type only will fit on trees not much larger than 12 to 14 inches
diameter. If the tree has low growing branches they need to be pruned
with the trunk to enable climbing. This could lead to excessive pruning
loss of important cover.
treestands, although easy to set up
require considerable strength and agility to move them up a tree. Not
the hunter have to move the full weight of the stand up the tree but
models his own body weight too. Climbers come in two basic models: The
sit-down-stand-up models and the hang on-and-pull models. Most of the
“bowhunter climbers” are hang on-and-pull models.
The sit-down-stand-up models
are much easier to climb because you can sit down on the upper frame as
pull the lower platform up with your feet. The bowhunter models do not
that feature and the hunter has to hang on with his hands to the seat
and then pull the standing platform up with his feet while his full
and that of the standing platform is fully suspended from his hands
Regardless of weather I hunt with a bow or rifle I always use the full
climbing treestand that permits me to sit down to pull the lower
platform up. I
have never found that the full frame is in the way when I shoot the bow.
me the climbing treestand is a
true run-and-gun stand. With this stand I can quickly change locations,
stand up and hunt from it right away. The down side, as mentioned, is
need straight trees of a relatively small diameter and it requires a
amount of strength to climb up a tree with these stands.
boomer generation grows older these stands have become very
popular in recent years. While not so long ago one had to look far and
find a good quality ladder stand, these days every treestand
offers several models. The ladder stand is quite heavy and in most
two people to set up. It’s also hands down the safest stand a
hunter can use
due to the fact that the stand remains in contact with the ground at
Because of that the stand is also easy to climb up and down. Some of
models, especially the ones designed for two people, are very
sit on with padded seat and back cushions.
stands have an
limitless application as long as there is a tree strong enough to lean
against it will work for a ladder stand. The downside with ladder
that they are very visible to deer and other hunters and at an average
of 40 pounds plus the bulkiness they are not exactly easy to transport.
However, in areas that have dense undergrowth and brushy trees where a
or climbing stand would not work well a ladder stand will be perfect.
stands are also perfect for hunters that have one or two “hot
produce deer every year and want to have a semi permanent stand set up.
hunters that are not very agile and need a stand that is easy to get in
of will like the ease and comfort of the ladder stand.
mentioned earlier the ladder stand is quite heavy and bulky, plus it
time to put it together and set up. Considering all these factors the
stand is not what I call portable by any stretch of imagination.
is not a treestand because no tree is needed
to set it up. The tripod stand is a self-supporting unit, but since it
listed under “treestands” in hunting goods catalogs
and permits the hunter to
get above the game I have included them here too. A
tripod stand is the
choice to hunt brush country,
marshes and cornfields. This stand will get the hunter above the
lets him see into the thick tangled brush, corn and reed stems.
stands are very heavy and take considerable
time to set up. As the name suggests the tripod stand consists of three
one of which serves as a ladder to access the stand. At the top of the
platform is installed and a seat. The better models feature a swivel
affording a 360-degree view of the hunting area by simple swiveling
the seat- a bit like an office chair. Tripod stands can be prone to
over in windy conditions or if the hunter suddenly shifts his weight
to the other side. It is therefore advisable to add additional
anchoring to the
stand. This is simply achieved by attaching ropes at the point where
legs meet under the standing platform and then tying the ropes onto
wooden stakes that have been driven into the ground around the tripod.
manufacturers deliver an anchoring system with their tripods while
it as an after market product. Either way I strongly recommend using an
anchoring system to improve the safety aspect of a tripod stand.
the ladder stand the tripod too is not
portable. The stand comes with many different parts and needs to be
assembled. This takes time and due to the weight of up to 100 pounds
consequent bulkiness, depending on the model, two to three people to
and set up.
Keeping you treestands
safe treestand hunting is depends not only on
wearing a safety harness and using a quality stand but also on the
of the stand. It all starts by carefully reading, understanding and
the owners and operation manual accompanying each treestand. Before
and after the hunting season ends inspect your stands for wear and
especially the attachment belts, buckles, chains and cable. If you see
in the frame have it fixed by a manufacturer recommended professional.
parts should be replaced with factory recommended parts. After the
season closes wash and repaint the stands and lubricate all the joints
moving parts; this will go a long way to avoid creaking and popping
Store the treestands in a dry place such as the garage or garden shed
next season. Purchasing a treestand is an investment that can greatly
your deer hunting success so keep it in good working order and you will
many years of use from one of hunting’s great inventions.
of the different stand models has its
advantages and disadvantages. In my opinion, a serious treestand hunter
own at least several hang-on stands, a climbing treestand and a ladder
This stand arsenal permits the hunter to pre-select several stand sites
quickly change locations from one stand to the next without any delay
wherever the deer action is. Owning several stand models gives you the
opportunity to use stands in a wide variety of situations and that
make all the difference you need to be in the game.
matter what stand model or brand you choose
safety is of paramount concern. Each time a human leaves terra firma he
is in danger of risking life and limb. Unlike birds we have no wings
us safely back to earth from lofty heights. Treestand manufactures
safety harness with each treestand and they should be worn each time we
from a stand. Most of these safety harnesses also function as a lineman
climbing belt. While most hunters these days wear a safety device once
in the treestand, many hunters fail to realize that they are just as
danger of falling while they are climbing up or down a tree. Of all the
related accidents, falls from stands or climbing up and down and to and
one account fro seventy-five percent. From that figure more than eighty
of accidents occur when climbing to and from your treestand. The rest
accidents occur by careless use of the stand, malfunction and disrepair
of the stand,
ladders or safety equipment. By remembering a few simple common sense
rules accidents with treestands can be greatly limited.
Hunting Safety Tips
carry equipment with you while climbing. Use a haul line to raise or
gear. Make sure guns and crossbows are unloaded and broadheads are
prior to raising or lowering firearms, crossbows, or bows with a haul
use a climbing belt when climbing up or down a tree. Use a safety
hunting from elevated tree stands. Study manufacturer’s
using any equipment. Never use a rope to replace a safety harness.
permanent tree stands every year before hunting from them. Replace any
understand and follow the factory recommended practices and procedures
installing commercial stands. Inspect portable stands for loose nuts
and bolts before each use.
only healthy, living trees when using climbing devices. Rough-barked
as oak are best. Do not use a tree that is rotten or has dead limbs.
put all your weight on a single branch. Keep at least one hand and one
a secure place when reaching for the next hold.
higher than the stand and step down onto it. Climbing up onto it can
boots with non-skid soles, because steps or platforms can be slippery
sleet or snow.
hunt from a treestand in high wind or lightening storm.
make sure you
not choose a tree that is over or
under the tree diameter recommended by the stand manufacturer.
dependable person where you’re hunting and when you plan to
return. Map your
whereabouts and leave a note at camp, at home or in your vehicle so
can be found.
sleepy, move your arms rapidly until you feel alert.
your treestands regularly after each hunting season and store them in a
place. Check the stand before each use for wear and tear.
treestands only with manufacturer recommended parts.
precautionary measure, clear all debris, branches, rocks and other hard
pointy material from the ground below the tree stand.
updated equipment. Newer tree stand equipment is solid, safe and
Updated safety harnesses offer more protection than older ones.
whistle to call for help and carry a first aid kit, flashlight and
telephone in a fanny pack.
you hunt from a newly purchased treestand practice attaching and
to/from the tree at about a foot or two of the ground. Stand and sit on
until you become absolutely familiar with the stand and how to set it