Types of treestands
Homemade or permanent stands
Homemade or permanent treestands made of wood are NOT recommended. These treestands often deteriorate over time and become unsafe. The platform can also become slick due to rain, snow, ice or moss that collects on the stand. A permanent stand can also damage the tree it's attached to; any nails can also cause serious damage to equipment or people when the tree is harvested later on.
Fixed or hang-on stands
A fixed or hang-on stand can attach to a tree at any height. This stand type consists of a seat and a platform, along with straps and/or chains that attach the stand to the tree. This stand greatly limits a hunter's movement; it also requires a ladder or steps for access. Make sure the attaching straps or chains are tight and secure, otherwise the stand could slip when weight is applied to the platform.
Safety tips for fixed / hang-on stands:
- ALWAYS use a climbing / lineman's belt when you install or remove a fixed position stand as well as while ascending or descending the tree.
- NEVER support your weight with a tree limb. Tree limbs can unexpectedly break and cause potentially serious falls.
- Always test the stand to be sure it is secure before climbing into it.
- Never attach wood steps to the tree with nails or spikes.
- Avoid using screw-in steps, as they can be more dangerous than other climbing aides. They are also illegal in some states. Know the law before setting up your treestand!
A self-climbing stand is highly portable and comes in a range of styles. It can be carried like a backpack into the woods on the day of the hunt and used in different locations, depending on the hunting conditions. To install this stand in a tree, a hunter uses a push-down, pull-up method. Operation of this stand requires practice for proficiency, so practicing at ground level before hunting season begins is a wise move. Because safety strap is required when climbing with this stand, select a tree that does not have loose or peeling bark.
To get into a tree, the hunter stands on the bottom platform and pulls the seat section up to waist level. He or she then sits on the seat and raises the bottom platform up to the bottom of the seat section. The hunter then stands on the bottom platform and pulls the seat section up to waist level. This action is repeated until the hunter reaches the desired height.
Safety tips for self-climbing stands:
- Attach your FAS/FBH to the tree before leaving the ground.
- Attach the seating and standing platforms in a slightly upward direction to compensate for the narrowing of the tree trunk as you go up.
- Connect the seating and standing platforms together to prevent the platforms from separating, which will leave you stranded.
- As you ascend or descend, move the tree belt anchorage with you. Never hurry. Take short, distinct movements up the tree ensuring the stand get a good grip into the tree before climbing higher.
This stand type is safer to enter and exit thanks to the ladder, but it may require three people to install and secure it properly to a tree. Ranging between 12 and 16 feet in height, a ladder stand is ideal when hunting on well-established game trails. Some ladder stands have a small seat and platform for one hunter. Others feature a larger seat and platform for two hunters. Adding a skirt will further conceal the hunter's movements. Some ladder stands even feature a bar that can be used as a gun rest.
Safety tips for ladder stands:
- Ladder stands should include criss-cross straps, standoff brackets or other means of securing the ladder to the tree before climbing to the platform.
- Ladder sections must be securely held together with retainer pins, clips, or other device to prevent the ladder sections from coming apart unexpectedly.
- Ladder stands can require up to three people to install or remove correctly. Don't risk your safety or the safety of others by attempting to install or remove it yourself. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
- ALWAYS lean forward and maintain three points of contact (for example, two hands and one foot) while climbing the ladder.
- As you approach the top of the ladder, attach the FAS/FBH tether to the tree as soon as possible.
A tower stand is freestanding with either three or four legs, depending on the manufacturer. A ladder is included with this stand to access the top platform, where the seat is attached. The tower stand is best suited for the edge of a field or in open country. It requires a strong, level, firm base and needs to be secured to the ground.
ALWAYS lean forward and maintain three points of contact (for example, two hands and one foot) while climbing the ladder.