Today I would like to write about the use of tree stands for deer hunting specifically tree climbing stands. I personally have been using a Summit Viper tree climbing stand for the past 5 to 7 years. In the following article I plan on covering the following topics:
- Tree Climbing Stand History
- Utilization / Modifications
I hope you find this data helpful in either helping you to decide on what type of tree stand you would ant to purchase or just some insight from a tree stand user.
Tree Climbing Stands – History
From my research on this subject I suppose we would have to start all the way back to Native American Indians (if not further) who used trees as ambush sites for unsuspecting prey. Fast forward to WW II and we have the first example of deliberate fixed stands in tree tops created by Japanese snipers.
Moving forward to 1977 we find the first US made tree stand (fixed) invented by Andy Anders….he used tubular metal as his frame material and a plywood base with a heavy chain for wrapping around the trunk of the tree for stability thus hunting for deer from a tree stand was born!
Now in 2020 we have a wide arrange of tree climbing stands to choose from …some designed specifically for bow hunters and others bow / rifle usage the combinations and designs are limitless…….
Utilization / Modifications
Most of my hunting with the use of a tree climbing stand has been for deer but I suppose they could also be used for hog hunting / varmits etc. In this chapter I am going to write from experience …as stated above I use a Summit Viper SD (aluminum frame & sound deading technology) tree stand it is light at (20 lbs) and has the cable system I prefer since I hunt in the Piney Woods of East Texas and this system “bites” securely into the pine trees I hunt from.
I suppose I should say that I am approx. 5′-9″ and weigh about 165 lbs “soaking wet” so the SD Viper works excellent for me …for you bigger folks out there Summit has larger models to choose from that support more weight and are a lot more roomer as it pertains to the seat and frame dimensions.
For most of my hunts I probably walk about 3 to 4 miles with the stand on my back hence I have modified the carrying straps by widening the straps so they do not converges on or below the neck which causes “pinch points” and can make for a miserable day in the field! By widening the carrying straps it helps to distribute the weight of the stand during transport in and out of the woods. I have also added more camo foam to the existing zippered arm pads which I have harnessed to the stand using zip ties.
Finally I have added two clip mesh webbing straps approx. 3′-0″ in length between the upper portion of the stand (the part you sit in once affixed to the tree) and the bottom portion where the climbing stirrups are located thereby eliminating the two halves of the tree stand to become separated during ascent or descending the tree.
I suppose under this topic you get what you pay for…. I would invest in the most “safest” tree stand that you can afford. But I have found that most tree stands of good quality can be bought from around $250 to $300 dollars and you can even find a bargain on EBay or Offerup or some other second hand outlet but keep in mind that the stand may or may not have been used either way check to make sure all components are in a good safe working manner.
Look it goes without saying that when hunting from a tree climbing stand you are mostly alone! That stated please invest in a safety harness or what ever safety system your stand provides if not buy one prior to your initial use of the stand ….better safe than sorry!!
Some other safety aspects to consider would be:
Tree selection – make damn sure you are climbing a healthy / straight tree
Surrounding area – make sure that there are no dead trees close by that could collapse and hit you in the process
Field of view – make sure that you do not have any immediate obstructions in your field of sight (make sure you have shooting lanes / options)
Weather – look just be smart about this if it looks like stormy weather don’t hunt from the stand or if it comes up on you while in the field climb down to safety.
“Birds Eye” view……..
Only those who have hunted from a tree stand know where I’m coming from on this topic – the area you may have hunted in for years will look TOTALLY different from above!
Not to mention the observation of natures creatures both large and small is amazing!!
Being out of sight and scent range will allow you to get closer to wild game than ever before…….so if you have the opportunity to use a tree climbing stand I highly suggest that you do and see for yourself what you’ve been missing.