How to Hunt for Years on $2,000: The Treestands and Climbing Steps

Click here if missed the last installment. To recap, the September issue cover story "Deer Hunting in the Real World" included a large sidebar called "Hunt for Years on $2,000," featuring 12 essential deer-hunting items totaling under $2K, each of which are either very good or shockingly good for the price. The print edition included only a list. So here's here a bit more info. On Monday, I detailed the bow, rifle, and muzzleloader. Today, the stand and steps.

Comfort Zone Hunter Hang-On Stand

Anyone who follows this blog knows that I have raved repeatedly about this being the best deal in treestands. It still is. Looks like Dick's change the look of the stand a bit this year and maybe bumped up the MSRP. Don't worry; you can still get it for $39.99 in stores and online. As I've said many times, it's not a great stand, but it is remarkably good for the price. Here's a link to a previous, longer review.

Summit Viper Classic Climbing Treestand

In case you haven't noticed, good climbing stands have gotten pretty insanely expensive, like more-than-the-rifle-I-reviewed-in-the-last-post expensive. Personally, I use a climber a lot--I mean a lot a lot--so I'm willing to splurge for the best. That said, I've used the classic Viper a bunch, and it's still a pretty darn good climber: lightweight, fairly compact, well made, and still hugely popular. For $180 you absolutely can't beat it. The SD model (shown) is quieter for another $80 or so.

MSRP: $200, street price $180; summitstands.com

Big Game Staggar Steps

These steel steps are the best bargain I've seen in portable, individual steps or sticks. There are cheaper models that connect to form a straight ladder, but these can be less than ideal for crooked trees. Staggar Steps are fairly light, they go up in a snap, and provide very sure footing. You just need to be careful, as they're a little loud if you clang them.

MSRP: $60 for three; cabelas.com