For white-tail deer hunters, the most effective and useful tool is a tree stand. First developed in the 1960’s, the modern tree stand let a hunter get way above the sight line of deer and helped hunters to avoid being scented as well. The quality of tree stands have improved significantly over the last 25 years, so choosing the right stand is vital to hunting success. Here are the options.
Climbing stands are highly portable and require the most skill and physical prowess to use effectively. They basically consist of two major parts, the platform and the climbing frame. Climbers are also some of the most expensive of all the stands, but they are perfect for hunting wilderness areas that make it difficult to remain in one hunting spot for long periods of time. Although climbing stands require more effort to use, they allow for the most flexibility in hunting locations.
Much like climbing stands, ladder stands have improved a lot over the last two decades. The typical weight has been reduced with aluminum and better engineering, and improved steel has also decreased weight. The biggest drawbacks with ladder stands are that they are more stationary due to their cumbersome size. If you have a steady hunting spot and some proven stand locations, ladders stands are perfect to set up and leave in place all season.
Ladder stands offer the most variety in sizes and models; the choice all depends on how opulently you wish to hunt. You can get padded seats and backs, arm rests, padded arm rests and even a lap bar to use as a shooting platform. You can even get stands that seat one or two people, which are great for adults hunting with kids. Unfortunately, one knock on ladder stands is that they are the noisiest of the stands. I have hunted out of many and every one of them had a mystery squeak.
These are the bread and butter of most deer hunters. They come in lock-on or hang-on models, but they are both extremely portable, light and low profile. They can also vary in size when it comes to the platforms and seats. You can get tiny platforms or large, spacious ones. You can get solid seats or suspended fabric seats. You can get back rests and arm rests, and you can get foot rests and stabilizer bars for shooting off of.