HUNTINGsmart! USA Knowledge Base
Module 11 - IN THE FIELD
Just like it sounds, this treestand is a ladder/platform combination and it’s by far the easiest to enter and exit. Ladder stands are a safer, sturdier and roomier option. However, they aren’t the easiest to work with—they may require 3-4 people to help with set-up and an ATV for transport.
You’ll want to set up a ladder stand well in advance of the hunt. Any kind of game animals nearby will definitely hear a group of hunters wrestling a 10-20 foot ladder through the woods with an ATV. If you were a deer, would you stick around to investigate?
Bonus: some ladder stands can accommodate a blind or a roof to camouflage your movements and to shelter you from the weather.
Most ladder stands are made of steel and are heavy to lift, so they’ll require a group effort. Never try to set one up on your own. Once you’ve found your tree and have your buddies with you, get started by setting the base about 3-4 feet away from the trunk of the tree. Once the ladder is raised and positioned on the tree, shimmy it around until it feels stable. Then have a buddy hold the bottom of the ladder so that you can safely climb up to tighten the stabilizer bars and straps.
So yeah, ladder stands are a lot of work, but if you’ve found a busy buck spot and you know you’ll be returning to that exact spot every season, a ladder stand is your best option. Some models can also hold up to three people, so it’s a good choice for social butterflies and for families who hunt together.