Every tree stand out on the market is unique in its own way whether they come with a solid platform, a platform that is meshed, different gauge metal are used for the supports, overall weight varies and ect.
I will go over the most common type of tree stand on the market. Picking out the right one can be time consuming and especially with internet ordering you don’t get a chance to see what you’re buying before you buy it.
Check out the 6 Best Hunting Tree Stands on the market right now:
1. Ladder Tree Stands
Ladder stand have their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s first explain what they are and what sizes they come in. Simply put a ladder stand is a platform with an attached ladder to elevate you above the prey you are hunting. They can come in many heights from 6 foot to 25 foot. The higher you go the more it will weigh. Most come with nylon straps with attached clips so you can secure the tree stand to the tree. The platform itself can come in many different sizes as well. The wider the platforms are designed to ensure us ‘not so light footed hunters’ a safer hunt.
Two types that have been on the market for years are fixed and segmented. The third type which is fairly new to the market is a trap door.
- A fixed ladder stand is a one piece unit. It eliminates the need to buy tree steps. The ladder and platform are fabricated together eliminating the need to assemble parts. The biggest drawback is portability. If your land is not close you will need a truck or cargo rack to transport a fixed to your hunting sanctuary, then once you arrive you need a all terrain vehicle to haul them to the tree you have picked out. This type of tree stand is left in the woods year round.
- Second type is a segmented which can come in 3-6 piece rail sections with a platform. These types offer portability and the ease of transport. They often come with strap system where you strap it on your back like you would a backpack. Again you should always take into account the overall weight because you will be caring your other hunting equipment along if you don’t plan to make a few trips.
- Final type that I want to cover which offers ease of access and replaces the traditional stabilizer bar systems is the trap door. The trap door is a patent pending design made by Ameristep. The platform comes with a hatch built into it and the ladder is secured closer to the tree. This offers a very secure stable system which does not shift when climbing into and out of.
#1. Guide Gear Jumbo 18′ Ladder Tree Stand
#2. Guide Gear 15′ Ladder Tree Stand
2. Hang On Tree Stands
So what exactly is a hang on stand? Unlike a ladder stand these type of stands do not come with a ladder. Hence the terminology hangs on stand. It is simply a platform made of steel or aluminum that has a seat attached to the main vertical support. The stand is attached to the tree via forming a loop around a tree trunk to connect the platform of the tree stand to the tree. The loop consists of either a chain or a heavy duty nylon strap. The seat support is either made up of a hollow metal or cable with bolts or grommets on each and end so you can easily fold up the seat.
The platform itself comes in many shapes sizes and materials I will discuss in another series the durability of stands more in-depth. If your not to keen on heights I would recommend you get the widest available platform available on the market. This will ensure a safe hunt and you will be more confident when you make that once in a life time shot.
The loop that connects to the tree is of most importance especially if you plan on leaving the hang on tree stand in the wood for a few years. I injured my back about 6 years ago and was not able to get up in the woods and take my stand down before the end of the hunting season. When I went to take them down I soon found out I had a major dilemma on my hands. The chain on most of them were embedded in the tree far enough were they could not be freed by hand. Most people would just use bolt cutters and leave the chain in the tree. This is all in good but if someone decided to cut down that tree and does not know the chain is there it could cause a serious accident for as saw mill or wood cutters.
I would advise if you’re looking into this type of stand then consider buying one that has heavy duty nylon strap that attaches to the tree. If tree growth occurs and you cannot get to your deer stand for a few years least the nylon is simple to cut and will not cause injuries in the wood industries.
The most benefit you get from this type of tree stand is the portability hands down. When bowhunting you can often carry them with one hand or strap them on your back and go. They will fit in a car trunk or the back seat. They will adapt to 99% of the trees in the woods making it an excellent choice if you need a specific tree to hunt from.
#1. Millennium Treestands M150 Monster Hang-On Tree Stand
#2. Lone Wolf Assault II Hang – on Tree Stand
3. Climbing Tree Stands
So what is a climber stand? Simply put the tree stand consists of two pieces the platform and the upper piece is the seat assembly. The two pieces are individually welded together offering a safe and secure hunting outing. They come in variety of platform sizes which can meet your individual needs. They come with either a steel bar that attaches to the back side of the tree or a cable system.
The overall weight for good reference is they are lighter than a ladder type but heavier than a hang on type. Make sure you check out the weight before purchasing. Not the carry capacity weight in which you should have already checked but the overall weight.
I would definitely use a safety harness with a climber stand. Most come with a horizontal bar in the front these bars are made for shooting rests not to rest on and take a nap. If you are leery of heights these horizontal bars in the front offer you the feeling of safety over the more opened designs on the market.
This type of tree stand has come a long way since its first inception. With the use of cables you can buy different size cables to fit your needs for bigger or smaller sized trees. If you not big on cable you can find the older steel bar setup. A steel bar that almost comes to a v shape, you swivel around the tree and bolt in to the other side of the stand. This older type of stand is very limited to what size tree you can use. This in turn can be a real draw back when contemplating a purchase.
I can remember a bowhunting trip one year. I scouted a tree out the day before the hunt and left the climber stand at the bottom of the tree. I get to the stand the following morning in the dark and start my way up the tree. I get almost too where I want to be and the bottom of the platform slipped away from my feet and slid down to the base of the tree. Please take words of caution make sure the top half and bottom half of the tree stand is tied together with a rope so you avoid my mistake.
#1. Lone Wolf Wide Sit & Climb Combo II Climbing Tree Stand
#2. Summit Treestands Viper SD Climbing Treestand
Tree Stand Safety
Pretty ladies use safety harnesses why aren’t we? Maybe we should take a rock climbing course to learn proper safety and meet women looking like this.
Homemade tree stands is rated up at the top of the list when it comes to hunters falling. Often these type stands can only handle a few years out in the elements before the boards and steps start coming loose. A good practice is instead of using regular lumber is to build your stand with pressure treated lumber. The cost is at a higher price point but the benefits outweigh the cons. Pressure treated wood is made to withstand long exposure in the elements. I prefer to use pressure treated lumber in conjunction with using screws instead of nails. If you ever tried pulling apart a structure of a house you so find it an easy task. The nails if not bent usually will drive out of the lumber with ease. If you tried the same with a pressure treated deck that was put together with screws you will find out it is a chore taking out all of the screws. The screws will give the tree stand more stability than one that is built with nails. This will lead to less accidents.
I think one of the biggest factors for most hunters not practicing tree stand safety is one the macho attitude, it will never happen to me attitude and it is too much of a hassle excuse. If anything hits close to home it is, we can all relate to each other as hunters in that our families are sitting at home waiting to hear our stories we bring back with us after a hunt. If you are not going to practice tree stand safety for your own well being then at least do it for your family.