Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Ladder Stand
Short of elevated box blinds or shooting houses, ladder stands are the safest, most comfortable way to hunt from an elevated platform. Consider these factors when choosing the best one for you.
Ladder stands can make deer hunting easier, especially when all that is available are crooked or bushy trees that don’t accommodate climbing or platform stands. They safely get you to an elevated position where you can see more deer, but where the deer aren’t as likely to see you. And they are easy to get into and out of compared to other types of stands. To select the right ladder stand for you, ask yourself three important questions. Will you be hunting alone? How high do you need to be? Can you drive close to your tree?
Ladder stands can be big or small, heavy or light, tall or short. To pick the right one, it’s important to determine if you will be hunting by yourself or with a companion. Single ladder stands are lighter and easier to set into place, so are ideal if you will always be going solo. A two-man ladder stand, or “buddy” stand, allows you to take along a companion—perfect for introducing new hunters to the sport. If you’re not sure, the double stand is your best choice. You can still use one by yourself, but you can also have a partner with you. One important note: While ladder stands with rails are very safe pieces of equipment, hunters should always wear a quality safety harness anytime they are hunting from an elevated platform.
How high you need to be is another determinant of what stand to choose. If you can only get 12 feet up into your selected tree, a 24-foot stand is overkill. It will not only be heavier to transport, but you’ll have ladder sections leftover that you’ll have to determine where to store. Shorter stands are lighter, thereby easier to transport. But in some cases, they won’t get you up to a level that offers a good vantage point. Of course, if you plan to move your ladder stand to a new area from time to time, taller gives you more flexibility in a variety of different situations.
This might sound like a crazy question, but if you and a hunting buddy have ever lugged an unwieldy 90-pound ladder stand several hundred yards back into the woods in rugged terrain, you’ll understand why it is important. If you’re going off the beaten path, a lighter stand is going to make you a lot happier, especially for the initial hanging experience. But if you can drive right to your tree, the sky’s the limit. Get as heavy of ladder stand as you want—as long as you have enough help to get it strapped into place!