Let’s face it, there are about as many treestand manufacturers as there are automovile manufacturers, and there are just about as many different models to choose from! Just like choosing a vehicle to drive, there are some ways to help narrow down your search for the perfect treestand for you.
To run through the list, there are hang-on treestands, ladder treestands, climbing treestands, elevated box blinds, and elevated platform stands. Each comes with its own unique advantages and disadvantages depending on your particular style of hunting and where you are hunting at.
You should note that there are different treestands better suited for certain types of treestand hunting. Climbing treestands, for instance, are best utilized by the hunter on public land where they do not wish to hang a more permanent stand site, or by the hunter who wants to be able to move locations swiftly and easily on a moment’s notice. A ladder stand might be best for the hunter who wants the added security and shooting rest of a safety rail or shooting rail for their hunting crossbow or firearm. In addition, someone hunting the open areas of Texas might want to consider the elevated platform stands for their 360 degree viewing capabilities. Most likely, that person is hunting with a long range rifle, so concealment is not of high priority.
The first step in making sure you’re buying the right treestand for you is to evaluate your hunting style. That definitely limits the number of styles that will work for you. For a person hunting large swathes of open, relatively flat terrain like Texas, an elevated box blind or platform stand is probably the best option. They will get you up and above the think brambles and brush patches so you can see for miles in any direction.
For a person hunting the back country of mountainous terrain, either out west or in the Appalachians, climbing treestands, aka “climbers“, might be your best option. The ability to be mobile and to scout while you hunt allows you to slowly narrow down the right location to be in. Something more permanent like a hang-on or ladder treestand requires far too much work to be quick about any sort of move, and elevated box blinds or platform stands just aren’t feasible.
For someone hunting in the agricultural terrain of the Midwest, you have a lot more flexibility in terms of your options. Hang-on and ladder stands work great here. Most hunters have multiple hunting locations to choose from and rather than toting a stand into the woods each time, they just hang multiple more permanent treestand sets. However, in the rolling hills of southern Iowa where there are valleys and low spots, elevated box blinds offer your best option for trying to cut down on the amount of scent you leave on the air. The wind can swirl in these locations making your scent more likely to spook deer and spoil a hunt.
In the Midwest, then, you’ve got to consider a couple other factors due to all the possible options at your disposal. One of these is how comfortable you want to be, or rather how much discomfort you’re willing to endure. Hang-on stands, aka “lock-on“, are not known for being exceptionally comfortable to sit on and, therefore, might not be the ideal choice if you intend to sit all day during the rut. However, ladder stands tend to limit how high you can go and can possibly contribute to an increased likelihood that a passing deer will notice you. Just a few things to consider.
Truly, at the end of the day, only you know which treestand style is best for you and that is largely based on trial and error. As the saying goes, “Treestands are to hunters as shoes are to women that like to shop. You can never have too many.” Do a little research, find a style you’d like to try that fits into your price range and test it out for a season. At any rate, regardless of what type of treestand you’re in, at least you’ll be out in God’s country, enjoying creation and hunting deer with your trusty crossbow!