How to Select a Treestand that's Right for You

A good treestand can safely get you close to animals without anything ever knowing you’re there

Treestand
Even though ladder stands are safe, you should still wear a safety harness to prevent falls.Big Game

When it comes to choosing a treestand, the type you purchase should be dictated by what and how you intend to hunt. They will all get you above the game’s line of sight and smell, but with varying capabilities for different hunting methods. Here are the three basic types of stands, and the type of hunting to which they are best suited.

Ladders

BIG GAME Hunter HD 1.5 Treestand
Ladder stands are easy to install and ascend.Big Game

Ladder stands, or “leaners” as they are sometimes called, are the most user friendly of all stand types. Set one up against a good straight tree, lock it in, and easily ascend in comfort and safety. They are the preferred stand type for many southern hunters who need an elevated platform with a stable rest. Cutovers, beanfields, and plantation-style hunting are all home turf for the ladder stand. Place it along the edge of a cut cornfield or food plot and slip in and out all season long as deer patterns dictate.

Climbers

Summit Treestands
Most climbing stands have very comfortable seats, but you have to work to climb up and down the tree.Summit Treestands

Climbing stands use a mechanical advantage to allow a hunter to ascend a tree trunk to virtually any height. They do not require climbing steps and are generally more comfortable and safer than hang-on stands because they usually have a rest or bar encircling the sitting position. Climbers are suitable for both rifle and compound archery or crossbow hunting, though traditional archers may find that the safety bar interferes with their draw. Climbers are a bit bulkier than hang-on stands, can only ascend relatively straight and limbless trees, and require you to make an ascent each time you enter your stand location.

Hang-On

Lone Wolf Assault II Hang On Tree Stand
Climbing stands are easy to relocate and tough for animals to spot.Lone Wolf Treestands

Hang-on stands are the smallest and most agile of stand types. They are meant to be moved multiple times during a season as deer patterns change and are a favorite of archery hunters. They are lighter, quieter, and can be placed in just about any tree. Once the stand is hung, a hunter can slip in and out as quietly as a mouse. But initial set-up is more challenging as they all require some sort of ascent system, such as tree steps or climbing sticks. Typically, they are meant to be placed in advance to allow the area to settle down before hunting. When you need to get truly close, such as hunting with a longbow, a hang-on stand is tough to beat.