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What to Look For in a Tree Stand

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We’re helping you know what to look for in a tree stand so it’s the last of your worries while staring down a buck this season.

Where most hunters prefer to build their own blinds onsite, tree stands see a bit more variation in hunter opinion.

On one hand, building your own permanent tree stand in a tree that has proven to be a fruitful hunting spot for years saves the effort of lugging your tree stand into the woods each fall and going through the frustrating steps.

On the other hand, permanent tree stands demand quite a good deal of upkeep – from replacing rotten boards to minding your climbing path to make sure that once-sturdy branches can still support your weight – and installing a temporary stand in a new tree each year can actually end up being less of a hassle than rebuilding a “permanent” one every time harsh weather comes through.

If you do decide to go the route of purchasing your tree stand, you will have a few different styles to choose from. The first, called the hang-on stand or the fixed-position stand, is arguably the most convenient of the store-bought tree stand variety. Not only are hang-on stands lightweight and easy to install, they are also actually fairly stable and will serve you well if you don’t mind shooting from a seated position.

Another popular variety of tree stand is the climbing tree stand, which hunters use in combination with a harness to transport up and down a tree. These stands are convenient and well-made enough nowadays to support just about any hunter’s weight without losing their firm grip on the tree in question.

The harness adds an extra element of safety to the equation, while the stand removes the need for climbing sticks or other aids that are needed with the more bare bones hang-on stand. Most hunters who go with a store-bought tree stand tend to prefer climbing stands. They even cause relatively low levels of noise as you climb the tree, an important quality to consider for anything you are going to be using in the woods during hunting season.

The other major variety of tree stand is the ladder stand, which generally includes a seat atop a ladder. When attached to a tree, it makes for arguably the easiest climbing experience a hunter can ask for. Ladder tree stands are also very easy for deer to see as they wander by, however, which makes them a less attractive option than most other tree stands, either store-bought or self-made.

Regardless of what you choose to do with your tree stand, the actual stand is usually considerably less important than the position of said stand. A hunter can have success with the cheapest hang-on stand that the market has to offer if he has scouted his territory and knows where to position himself.

Similarly, a hunter can purchase a luxury climbing tree stand and still strike out if he doesn’t have the slightest clue of where deer traffic is heaviest. With store-bought stands, you can usually move from tree to tree if you aren’t having any luck.

If you are building your own stand, however, you will need to scout your area heavily prior to beginning the project. You don’t want to build your tree stand only to learn that the location sucks. Similarly, don’t build your stand in the thick of deer season. Store-bought stands have been designed to minimize sound, but a hammer hitting a nail or a board is still as loud as ever. Don’t spook all the deer in the area by trying to build the ultimate tree stand.

Instead, head out in the summer or early fall and get the work done then.

What is your favorite style of tree stand? Is the stand itself more important than the location? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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What to Look For in a Tree Stand