A tree stand is one of my favorite pieces of deer hunting equipment. It provides me with a higher perspective of my surroundings. Keeps me higher than a whitetails direct line of sight and gives me another advantage when I am attempting to keep my scent from being discovered by their all powerful noses. On the market today you can find a variety of tree stands that are sure to meet your needs. When shopping for a stand, check out the specifications. Look at how much it weighs, how much weight it will support, if it is TMA certified, etc. When using a tree stand remember SAFETY FIRST. Multiple hunters are injured each year from improper use. Be sure to read and follow all safety guidelines that are set for your stand. In the section below I will be explaining the 3 most popular stands.
A climbing stand is the most versatile and easiest stand to use. They usually weigh in a range of 20-25 lbs so you can easily carry it in the woods with you just like a backpack. With a climber you can adjust your height and change position of the way you face in merely seconds. They are also very portable. All you need is a decently sized straight tree that will support you and the stand. They are also very comfortable. Most new stands come with a padded backrest that wraps around the tree and a hammock style seat that will make long hunting days more comfortable. When you leave your stand in the woods you may also want to leave some type of locking equipment attached so you can secure your stand to the tree. This will help in preventing theft of your equipment.
A Hang-On stand is for setting up a semi-permanent hunting location. They usually weigh in the 12-18 lb range. They are little more difficult and time consuming to hang than a climber but once you have the stand in place it is there for the whole season. You will also need to purchase climbing steps or screw in steps to assist you in hanging and hunting out of the stand. You have a wider tree selection with a hang on stand due to the fact that you do not need a tree that is completely straight. Most hang on stands come with a chain or strap that wraps around the tree to hold the stand permanently in place. It is a good idea to add a ratchet strap to this stand to give you a little more snugness to insure the stand does not shift when climbing into or out of the stand. Always wear a safety harness when hanging and hunting out of this stand.
A ladder stand is used when setting up a stand location that you plan to use for an entire hunting season or several seasons in a row. A ladder stand comes with your sitting area and ladder all in one package. The ladder will get you an average height of 12 to 16 feet off the ground. You can also buy extensions to give you some added height if you wish to hunt further off the ground. It is bulkier and heavier than a hang-on but usually provides a more comfortable seating arrangement. You can buy ladder stands that fit one hunter or two. The greatest positive with 2 man ladder stands is the opportunity it provides to be able to share hunting experiences with youth hunters and friends. Just like with a hang on stand you may want to add an extra ratchet strap to the stand and tree to give you some extra security.