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Product Spotlight

Treestand Buyers Guide

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What is the perfect stand for crossbow hunting?

Truth is their is no such thing as the perfect all around treestand. The trick is picking the best stand that suites your hunting style and location. With an ever increasing number of stand styles and options that decision is becoming much more difficult.

Here’s a quick guide to help you decided which direction to take:

Ladder stands

AdvantagesSafest tree based hunting stand and easy to access.

DisadvantagesTime consuming setup limits mobility especially during a season.

OptionsLadder stands variations are usually set by the number of people or size of the seating area. Most are single or two man units. Model will vary in basic options such as shooting rails, seat height, foot rests, platform size.

MaterialsOver 90% are steel with some companies offering aluminum models.

Height – 10 to 20 feet

Overall – If you have hot spot on private land this is the way to go. Ladder stands take little time to setup but are well worth it to have a stand that is safe and easy to access all season long. Crossbow hunters will benefit greatly from a shooting rail and added mobility of the two-man stands.

Climbing Stands

Advantages – Extremely mobile and most versatile hunting stand you can choose.

Disadvantages – Climbing stands can be dangerous without proper safety gear and noise created limits stealthy entry/exit.

Variations – Climbers come in two primary styles. There is a traditional climber which features a shooting rail and a compact climber that is without. The compact models are preferable to vertical hunter who wants the freedom offered by an open ended unit and the advantages of a lighter unit.

Materials – Steel and Aluminum

Height – Unlimited

Overall – Climbing stands offer hunters unlimited options for mobility and setup. These are the way to go if you’re hunting in a wooded area and especially if your hunting public lands which usually prohibit use of fixed treestands. Hunters using these should be in decent physical condition as they do take some effort to climb. Also, safety must be your primary concern as these stands are never fixed and can destabilize if you’re not cautious, especially if climbing hardwood trees.

Hang-On Stands

Advantages – The most affordable elevated hunting option and the lightest weight.

Disadvantages – Does not come with a mechanism for climbing, and can be the least comfortable option.

Options – Hand-On stands do have some slight variations in design which make some lighter and quicker to setup than others. Most the innovative design feature in this class come in the way of a separate mounting bracket which allows the hunter to quickly detach the seat/platform from the tree. This reduces the number of stands required and instead allows the hunter to attach separate mounting brackets to different locations. You can then hike in your stand and quickly hang it on a bracket.

Materials – Steel and Aluminum

Height – Unlimited

Overall – Hand-On stands are great way for hunters to setup in multiple locations as they are cost effective, light and easy to access. The downside is you need to supply your own access to their position, either by way of climbing sticks, tree steps, or old fashioned tree branches. Also, treestands don’t offer a shooting rail which many crossbow hunters have come to highly value.

Tripod Stands

Advantages – Standalone structures that aren’t limited to existing landscape and offer 360 degree shooting.

Disadvantages – Not very mobile and require a solid flat surface to ensure stability

Options – Tripod stands consist of a three legged independent structure with a seat/platform mounted on top. Where they vary is in stability (stronger structure), accessibility (better ladder), cover (fully or partially enclosed seat), and height.

Materials – Steel

Height – Up to 20ft

Overall – Tripod stands are great solutions for those locations that just don’t have any suitable foliage to hang a stand out of. They are stable when setup properly and as easy to access as a ladder treestand. They do require some setup and while some are advertised as mobile it is recommended that you treat them as a fixed structure as setup tends to be time consuming. Tripod stands offer an unrivaled 360 shooting angle that is perfect crossbow hunters because there aren’t any obstacles to navigate the limbs around. Also, most come with a shooting rail.

Tower Stands

Advantages – Safe and stable standalone structure that offer hunters protection from the elements.

Disadvantages – Heavy and time consuming setup and cost.

Options – Most tower stands on the market have a fairly standard four legged base with an integrated ladder. On top of the base will sit a hard shelled box blind that can vary greatly in size and options. The most valuable options can include added insulation, sound proofing, clear windows, integrated seating, storage, roof overhangs, and added weatherproofing.

Materials – Steel

Height – Up to 15ft (out of box)

Overall – Tower stands are fixed structures so you will need to be hunting private land before considering these a viable option. If this is the case and you have the funds then setting up a tower stand will be a major upgrade. Tower stands offer great stability, protection from the elements, accessibility, and unrivaled convenience. For crossbow hunters it is always important to give yourself lots of room when hunting from an enclosed structure in order to ensure your limbs aren’t contacting anything. Look for box blinds with wide, horizontal windows. Just be warned, it might be tough going back to a treestand after sitting in one of these luxury boxes.

With all of these stand options how do you pick one that will give you the best opportunity for success? That’s easy, choose a stand that best suites your local habitat and ultimately your capabilities as a hunter. Are you still having trouble deciding? Check out the most recent models and prices available. Also, to get a better idea of what each model looks like try to visit a large outdoors store such as Cabela’s that will have demo units setup. This will give you a better idea of features, size, and quality.

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