Many hunters use treestands to give them a better vantage point and provide a stable place to shoot from.
If you are considering a treestand but want to learn more about how they work, the types of treestands available, and how to choose the right one, you’ve landed in the right place.
If you have a specific section you want to skip down to, use the table of contents below to take you there.
Using a treestand to hunt can be a great way to give you a different perspective whether hunting with a bow or a rifle. The elevation keeps you out of the line of sight of your prey and gives you the perfect vantage for targeting your species of choice. It also keeps your smell from alerting prey to your position and allows you full view of the area below.
What is a Treestand?
Well, a treestand is simply a hunting stand mounted to or in a tree. There are many ways to mount a treestand and several types available. No matter which you choose, your stand will be elevated off the ground, have a platform and/or a seat for your comfort, and provide a bird’s-eye view of the world below. This gives you the time and position to choose your target and to take your time aiming.
Being able to hunt without being seen is essential for gun hunters and even more so for bowhunters.
Types of Treestands
There are a variety of types of tree stands you can get. Each with its own benefits and downfalls. Here are some types of tree stands to consider.
Ladder stands have a ladder attached which extends up to the platform and seat. These are secured to a tree and cannot stand by themselves. This provides a secure, stable way to climb into the stand since the sturdy ladder is part of the stand itself. However, these are heavier and will require more than one person to set up.
A climbing tree stand allows you to use the stand to actually get yourself up the tree. These come in two separate pieces and fall in the mid-weight range of 10-30 pounds. The two parts actually dig into the tree with special grippers to hold on to and allow you to inch yourself up the tree and into your stand.
A tripod stand is not actually a treestand as it does not attach to a tree. It does elevate you significantly though, providing a clear 360-degree view of the area. These are not easy to disguise and are mostly used for surveillance.
Hang-on stands are easy, light, and portable. The seat and stand are generally one piece and they attach to the tree using straps or chains. To install a hang-on stand, you will need to use climbing sticks or a ladder.
This type of tree stand isn’t a stand exactly but it does attach you to a tree. These are basically a piece for you to sit in that attaches high up in the tree. There is no platform or back support, but by using your legs and arms, you can position yourself and take a shot or just scope out the area below.
No matter which type you choose, it will help you accomplish your goal to get into the tree and have the ability to see the area below and take your shot.
Read Before Buying
If you’ve never owned a treestand before, it might feel like a huge task to decide which one to get. Here are some tips on how to decide which one you need.
How to Choose a Treestand
First you have to consider the type of stand you will need. There’s a lot that goes into that though. Keep reading to discover what else you need to know.
Size of Hunter(s)
Consider the size and weight of the people who will hunt with you. If they are larger or smaller than average you need to keep that in mind. Larger hunters will need a suitable platform for their size and smaller hunters can easily use a two-man treestand.
Where are you planning on setting up your stand? Are there large trees that can accommodate any kind of treestand or are you hunting in an area where trees are shorter and less robust? This will determine the stand types suitable for your hunting needs.
Size of Platform
How much space you need to move around is vital. If you are looking for a treestand for bowhunting, you will need space to take your stance and draw back the bow. You also want to feel secure when standing. This also affects the type and size of tree you can mount it to.
Mounting and Getting Into It
There are different ways to mount a tree stand. From freestanding to ratchet straps and chains, you need to decide how you will mount the stand as well as how you will get into it. Ladder stands allow you to climb the ladder but may require a way to reach the ladder. Hang-on stands need climbing sticks to use to get in the tree. Make sure you know what to expect when buying.
Be sure your stand provides plenty of concealment or you will risk being seen. There are also accessories you can purchase to add to your stand as camouflage.
Be sure the proper safety features are present in your stand. Being high in a tree or on a stand is dangerous and keeping yourself safe is the highest priority.
Hunting can be uncomfortable regardless of the equipment. But especially when waiting long hours to locate your prey, a bit of comfort is more than a luxury, it’s a necessity. Tired, aching muscles will make you less effective when you finally get the chance to take a shot.
Decide on a maximum budget and then search in that range. This ensures you don’t find one you think is perfect, only to discover you can’t get it.
By knowing what you are looking for, you can narrow down your search to exactly what you need. Then you will get a stand that will provide a great spot for you to hunt from for many seasons.
Popular Treestand Brands
There are many brands out there that make treestands. By going with one that is tried and true, you will ensure you get a quality product that meets your expectations. Here are some of the most popular brands out there today.
● Lone Wolf
● Rivers Edge
● Guide Gear
Working with a new piece of equipment is not always easy and you may run into problems along the way. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.
Common Treestand Platform Issues
Hunters report some common problems with the way treestand platforms are made. Here are some things you might experience so you can properly prepare.
Small Space- Obviously, a platform isn’t going to be spacious but many are barely large enough for standing. Manufacturers are constantly looking for lighter, sturdy materials to make stands out of but all will still add weight. Part of the lure of a stand is the ability to easily carry them in and out. Be sure the stand you choose provides enough room to maneuver yourself and your weapon.
Not Insulated – You want to be able to see all around, so platforms are made of many holes to keep from obstructing your view. However, this also means you will lose heat through your feet. Cold air and breezes easily flow through the platform, stealing away any heat you hoped to build up. Metal is also not great at retaining heat. Be sure to move regularly and wear plenty of appropriate clothing when hunting to keep yourself safe from the elements.
Noisy- Stealth is the name of the game when hunting. Stands can often creak or pop as you adjust your position which can startle your prey and cause you to lose a shot. Be sure to keep your stand in good working order, avoiding rust or creaky joints to keep your platform as quiet as possible.
Slippery- The platform metal is not very good for traction on most treestands. And when wet, it gets even more precarious. High in a treestand is one place you do NOT want to lose your footing. Be sure to wear shoes with good traction or add some texture to your platform to give your feet something to hold onto.
Treestand Safety Tips
Hanging out in a tree gives you a great vantage point for hunting but with that comes a decent amount of danger. Here are some tips to keep you safe.
Always Wear a Harness
There is never a reason for being in a treestand without a suitable harness. Falls from a treestand have surpassed firearm accidents as the leading cause of hunting-related injuries and deaths. This does not have to be where your hunting trip ends. Modern harnesses are more comfortable and safe, yet almost 70 percent of hunters do not regularly use one. So, I’ll say it again, ALWAYS wear a safety harness.
Keep your cell phone and a knife secured in your harness so that in case of a fall, you can call for help and cut yourself down if necessary. Hanging from a treestand can be painful, cause injury, and even lead to death if left there too long. Be sure you know how you will get to the ground before you leave the ground.
Bring a Buddy or Tell Someone Where You Are
Ever since kindergarten, we’ve been told to use the buddy system. This is especially true when hunting. Anything can happen when out hunting so be sure to hunt with a friend or at least give an account of where you will be so someone can find you if you become lost or injured.
Use Three Points of Contact
Only one limb at a time should not be in contact with the tree or ladder during a climb. This ensures you will be able to stop yourself from falling if you slip or can’t find footing.
Don’t Bring Gear Up With You
Your gear should be left at the base of the tree for you to hoist up after securing yourself in the stand. Trying to carry gear while you climb can throw you off balance and the added weight can make it difficult to climb. Attach a pull rope before you start your climb so you can easily bring up your gear.
This isn’t a complete list of safety measures, it’s a starting point. Be sure to do your research before heading out on your next trip.
How to Hang a Treestand
Hanging a treestand is an art. Once you get good at it, it will be second nature. However, never let your guard down. Complacency will cause accidents more often than not. Always stay alert.
Put On Your Safety Harness
First, be sure you have your full body safety harness on. Next attach your lineman’s belt around the tree and to your harness. This will keep you attached and allow you to lean back and use both hands when attaching the stand.
Prepare Your Lifeline
Next, attach a lifeline to the bottom of the tree and then clip to your harness. You can’t attach the top portion until you reach your ultimate position.
Position Your Ladder or Prepare Climbing Sticks
Position your ladder (if using a ladder stand) or grab your first climbing stick. Anchor your device to the tree using cinch straps or a ratchet system. For climbing sticks press down to lock the first one into place.
Slowly Climb the Tree
Now, begin the climb. Alternate standing on one climber with attaching the next one above you. Be sure to allow room for them to slide and grab the tree. Cinch each one as you go and pull taut.
Pull The Stand Up
When you reach the desired height, haul the stand up.
Seat and Secure the Stand
Attach and seat the stand in the tree. Tighten the straps as much as possible. Shake and press on the stand to ensure it is firmly attached. After all, you’re about to stand on it and want to be sure it doesn’t move much.
Attach Lifeline Above the Stand
Now attach a tether strap above the stand for your lifeline. Then hook yourself into the sliding portion of the lifeline and secure the top to the tether strap. This will allow you to slowly ascend and descend but will lock up in case of a fall, keeping you suspended and safe from hitting the ground.
Haul Up the Equipment
Lastly, you can haul up your supplies with a rope and you’re ready to hunt. Here’s a helpful video to follow along.
Hunting from a treestand can make all the difference in your hunting game. A higher vantage point gives you a bird’s eye view and can mask your smell and location.
Once you get a treestand, you can search for accessories like blind kits, umbrellas, and even comfy cushions to protect and conceal you further.
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