Having been a bow hunter for 50 years, the development of treestands has been interesting and competitive, to say the least. Choosing and buying a treestand today is much different than choosing the right tree limb to sit on 50 years ago or hauling lumber into your favorite hunting spot and pounding out a crude board seat and platform in a tree, which by the way, has most likely rotted out by now.
The right treestand can be a critical part of your hunting so take your time to examine all the makes and models you can. There is a very good selection of treestands and accessories at Bass Pro Shops or Cabela’s, or some of your independent large sporting goods stores. Treestands can be heavy and cumbersome or lightweight and mobile. That is a no brainer, you decide. If you have a friend who has a treestand, ask to see it and ask his likes and dislikes. Sometimes we buy a brand because someone we know has that brand. That does not mean it is good for us. Safety and comfort go hand in hand.
If you want a more permanent treestand, look at the ladder varieties that can be left out over a longer period of time (stands should always be removed at the end of the season). If you want to be more mobile, then check out the “climber” treestands if you consider yourself to be agile and in good physical shape.
Important factors in choosing the right tree stand: Consider your weight and the weight limit of the treestand. Check out the platform dimensions. Try out the seat height. It is easier to sit with your knees angling slightly downward than having them point upward. This makes it difficult to stand up if your knees are higher than the seat.
When choosing a hang on style of treestand. Consider how you are going to get it up in the tree. Climbing sticks (segmented ladders that fit together in sections) work very well in giving you some ease in hanging a stand (always use a safety harness) The gorilla stand is my favorite hang on treestand although it is a little heavier to handle. Once it is there it is solid.
My personal preference is the “Summit” line of treestands. At a reasonable price I consider them to be the best. At my age, I find them to be very easy to use and dependable, safe and comfortable with the swing seat. It is quite easy to ratchet up a tree with the solid foot straps (a nice feature to look for) Practice at low heights until you are comfortable with how to use the climber. The ability to move around the woods over fresh scrapes and new corridors is the best advantage you have with a “climber”.
Permanent ladder stands are less mobile but offer comfort and convenience if you are hunting the same location often. The double seat models offer the “father and son” feature or your favorite hunting partner. They can be adjusted in height by adding or removing ladder sections.
Treestands have practically revolutionized the way we hunt. Marketing has changed the way we think. Buying the right treestand should be your decision alone and only after you have seriously weighed the statistics and specifications of as many treestands as you can. Your safety depends on it. You will depend on your treestand like you do your choice of weapon. Dependability is synonymous with comfort, and remember, wear a good , if not the best, safety harness.