The modern tree stand is arguably the most significant hunting innovation of the past few decades. Here are the pros and cons of each type of tree stand, our top picks and the best tree stand accessories.–Todd Kuhn
PROS: Ladder stands offer rock-solid hunting platforms for trees that are in the perfect location but aren’t good candidates for portable climbers.
CONS: Heavy and awkward to carry into the woods.
MY CHOICE: Cabela’s 20-foot I-Beam Ladder. A lofty deck height of 20 feet, a flip-up seat, an oversize platform and double-railed ladder move this stand to the head of its class. ($180; 800-237-4444; cabelas.com)
PROS: Perfect for hunters who have a “favorite tree” and don’t require mobility.
CONS: Most hang-on tree stands have abysmally small standing platforms and uncomfortable seats.
MY CHOICE: Loggy Bayou Monarch XL. Feather-light at less than 10 pounds, it’s easy to manage when installing. Its double attachment system is safe and solid. A large standing platform and a generously padded seat make this the most comfortable hang-on. ($119; 870-234-2260; loggybayou.com)
PROS: Extremely mobile, climbing tree stands allow hunters to vary their angle of attack.
CONS: Noisy, and limited to straight, limbless trees that are 8 to 22 inches wide.
MY CHOICE: Summit Bullet Backpacker. Its ability to fold flat distinguishes it from other climbers. It also climbs more quietly than most. ($269; 256-353-0634; summitstands.com)
PROS: At home in areas where there isn’t a good tree.
CONS: Extremely heavy. No protection from silhouetting
MY CHOICE: North Starr Standing Starr. At 82 pounds, this 15-foot all-aluminum stand is light for a tripod. Pneumatic seat, a swing-out door and numerous concealment options make this stand out. ($560; 517-439-1313; northstarrtreestands.com)
7 Sweet Accessories
Nikon Monarch Laser800 Range Finder ranges accurately through brush, leaves and grass. Has multicoated optics. ($329; 800-645-6689; nikonusa.com)
Underwater Kinetics Mini Pocket Light is super bright and clips to a hat or clothing for hands-free lighting. ($18; 858-513-9100; uwkinetics.com)
Transformer Safety System has contoured foam shoulders and is the least restrictive harness on the market. ($80; 870-881-9778; loggybayou.com)
Dwight Schuh Tree Stand Backpack’s large organization panel holds all the essentials and straps to a tree. ($80; 800-438-3353; fieldline.com)
Bright Eyes All Way Shine Trailmarkers let you easily find your trail with a flashlight in the dark. ($3.50; 715-886-5720; lewishunting.com)
Cabela’s Treestand Light straps to a tree and is activated via remote from up to 100 yards away. ($40; 800-237-4444; cabelas.com)
Get Outdoors Go-Lock is totally weatherproof and is the most ruggedly designed anti-theft device out there. ($20; 989-823-2207; go-lock.com)