The most common strategy for hunting deer is to find an area they frequent and patiently wait for a deer to appear. But how do you remain hidden while waiting for deer? Many bowhunters rely on treestands.
A treestand is an elevated hunting platform that gives you a commanding view of the area and aids in concealment; deer rarely look up for predators.
A critical moment in bowhunting is drawing your bow undetected. Any movement can catch a deer’s eye and send them running. A treestand brings you above a deer’s line-of-sight, which allows you to draw your bow without spooking game. Meanwhile, a safety harness secures you to the tree to help prevent falls. The added elevation also helps prevent deer from smelling you. This is a big advantage, because a deer’s nose is their strongest sense.
When you visit an archery retailer, you’ll notice several types of treestands: climbers, ladder stands and hang-on stands (also called lock-on stands).
Hang-on treestands are versatile and easy to secure to most trees; they attach to the tree using a chain or ratchet strap. To climb the tree bowhunters use portable ladder sections, called climbing sticks, which attach to the tree with a ratchet strap. Climbing sticks are around 30 inches long, and you’ll need three or four of them to reach 15 to 20 feet.
Hang-on treestands are an affordable option and are easy to set up and move. The portability is helpful when hunting public land and keeping up with a deer’s changing patterns.
Climbing stands are two-piece treestands; the top piece is the seat, and the bottom piece is the platform. Ladders and steps are not needed for these stands, because you use the stand to climb the tree.
The technique varies with different models, but here’s the basic idea: Move the top portion of the stand up the tree and put all your weight onto it. Using your feet, bring the bottom portion up the tree and repeat. Tree selection is very important when using a climber; these stands require a straight tree that’s free of branches. The branches will interfere with the climber as it slides up the tree.
Climbing treestands vary in weight between 12 and 30 pounds, and they are equipped with backpack straps. These stands are easy to carry in and out of the woods, which makes them ideal for public-land bowhunting.
Ladder treestands combine a seat, platform and ladder all in one package. These treestands require the help of a couple people for set-up, but they are secure and comfortable.
Climbing into a ladder stand is very easy, and they offer a roomy platform. Mobility is not their strong suit, but ladder stands are the king of comfort.
The type of treestand you choose will depend on your hunting area and personal preferences. The experts at your archery store can help you choose the best stand for your needs. They will also help you choose the necessary treestand accessories, such as a lifeline, bow holder and safety harness. On your next hunting trip, head to the trees and see the benefits of some added elevation.