There are many different tree stands available from the big box hunting stores. We’ll discuss the most common ones here. First and foremost it’s important to select a tree stand which is capable of handling your weight with gear, and will allow sufficient mobility when it’s time to spring into action. Be sure to check the weight limit on any tree stand to ensure it can hold you with all of your gear on. Many will support up to 350lbs.
Fixed Tree Stands
Fixed tree stands are platforms that you secure to a tree using rope, or straps. There are other means but they are uncommon and insecure. Fixed stands are large, with a side designed to rest flat against the trunk of the tree. The rope or straps attach the stand to the tree so it remains in place.
Homemade Tree Stands
Many hunters opt to make their own tree stands, which are typically more permanent options, built from wood, and then secured to the tree. These can be small in stature, but we’ve seen some large treehouse looking structures in the trees over the years. For stands that remain up throughout the year, the elements can damage these quickly, and make them unstable and noisy. Be sure to check any stand that remains in place year round to ensure it’s stable, solid, and quiet enough for you to use at your weight. Using another builders stand can be risky as quality varies from builder to builder.
Ladder stands attach to the top of a ladder, secured in place using safety restraints. Hunters climb the ladder to get to the platform. These are easy and convenient stands to get in and out of, and so they tend to be quite popular despite the facts that they can be difficult to carry from your vehicle into your hunting spot given their size and the fact that they can be quite heavy compared to the alternatives. Since a ladder stand tends to stick out more in its environment, be sure to set it up in advance of your hunting dates so that it’s not completely foreign to the deer in the area.
Climbing Tree Stands
Climbing tree stands are not nearly as large as ladder tree stands. The concept with the climbing stands is that the hunter uses 2 platforms which make up the tree stand to place downward pressure on one platform thereby increasing pressure against the tree while sliding the other section farther up the tree. To climb up the tree, the hunter pushes the foot platform against the tree, then stands up sliding the upper platform up the tree. It’s a slower process, but the hunter does not need to carry climbing gear to get into place. The climbing stand requires more time to get into place, and that’s something to factor into your purchase decision for those who are inclined to take more pee breaks thereby travelling up and down more frequently.
Tower Stands, Tripod Stands
Tower stands or Tripod tree stands are freestanding stands supported by three or more legs. Ideally suited for areas that don’t have trees which can support a tree stand, or without trees at all. Tower and tripod stands are bigger and heavier, and are more visible to game, they may be your best choice if there are no natural tree options in the area you will be hunting.