Are Climbing Tree Stands Safe?
Tree stands are among the most important items in a hunter’s gear checklist. Designed by hunters for hunters, the ability to stay out of eye-level and off the ground provides a good vantage point for hunters. There are a couple of popular trees stand types mentioned within hunting forums and communities, and each one has its advantage over the type of terrain and hunting location.
One of the most recommended types is the climbing tree stand. Have you used one before? Climbing tree stands come in two part system; the top is the seat platform and the bottom of the standing platform.
Are Climbing Tree Stands Safe?
While standing on a small platform where everything and your life depends on some cable or bolt bonded around a tree doesn’t look so grounded for safety at all, climbing tree stands are overall safe to use. You can climb easily and secure yourself comfortably within the stand. The whole setup feels safer than any other tree stand type; you can even take a nap on it and still be safe.
Surprising, though, most accidents does not occur from stand malfunction, but when the hunter mistakenly dances off the top and takes an ungraceful swan dive without a safety harness. With that said, always wear a secondary/backup safety harness around your body while on any tree stand.
Benefits of Climbing Tree Stands:
- Portable – Some tree stands can be heavy, but there are also models that are under They are designed with built-in backpack straps, which make it incredibly easy to carry around. It allows you to be mobile – bring it everywhere, hunt anywhere you choose.
- Versatile – When hunting mostly on public grounds, there isn’t an option to install a permanent tree stand. This is why portable climbing tree stands are among the most popular choice among hunters.
- Keeps you comfortable while on watch – Armrests, foot rests, and some even have thick seat cushion! There are open or closed systems that allow you to either stand upright or sit high and hunt comfortably.
- Easy-to-use – Think that you can’t handle another complex mechanism aside from your shooting gear? Climbing tree stands are easy to setup. There are cable retention systems that won’t require you fumbling over bolts, nuts or pins.
- Very safe to use – There are climbing tree stands with enclosure bars and boot stir-ups that keep you secured within your post. With these, you don’t need to worry about slipping off the platform while you climb or descend.
See more: How to Make a Hunting Bow
10 Tree Stand Safety Tips
Although tree stands are very safe to use, accidents from it are the most common source of hunter-related injuries. Remember that using a tree stand means you’re elevated from the ground, and an unfortunate fall is one thing that you don’t want to experience. How to avoid this? Read and follow these safety tips.
- Always secure yourself with a safety harness – Never hunt from a stand without this. Many accidents from tree stands are caused by sudden movement, repositioning your gun and losing footing from the platform. Also, make sure that you get a high-quality
- Select a sturdy tree – The tree should be alive and healthy. Inspect first if there are any signs of rot or trunk damage. Also, follow the recommendations on size set by your tree stand manufacturer.
- Regularly monitor your safety harness – Everything in your tree stand is subject to weight and strain. Always check if there are any wear and tear.
- Always have a secondary rope on your harness and tree stand – This is your safety we’re talking about. Secure a second strong rope on your harness for back-up and you can also do this on your tree stand.
- Double check the ladder and tree stand attachments before you climb down or up – Again, make sure that everything is secured in its place.
- Do not climb with your gear, bow, and firearm – Use a haul line to pull up all your hunting hear up. Same goes when you need to go down. Use the haul line again to lower down your gear. Also, lower it down on the opposite side of the tree or away from the ladder
- Follow the 3-Point rule – When you climb or down, you should have three points of contact with the ladder.
- Be aware of slippery surfaces – Snow, ice sheets and rain can make everything slippery. Take proper precaution when in contact with these surfaces.
- Don’t be in a hurry – Make steady strides up the ladder or when you climb the tree.
- Let your family or friends know where your tree stand is located – Before you go hunting, let your family or friends know where you are going, where your tree stand is, and how long you’ll be out there. Also, always carry a mobile phone, walkie-talkie or a communication device.
How to Use Climbing Tree Stands
Here’s the rule of thumb before you go out on a hunt with a new tree stand – always test or practice on it first at home. Set it up on the ground and familiarize yourself with the system. This way you don’t have to worry about not bringing the manual with on the hunt.
- Once you’ve chosen a sturdy tree, lock-on your stand while at the bottom.
- Before you climb, put on your safety harness first. Make sure the straps fit perfectly round your body.
- Tie a rope on the opposite side of the ladder, and the other end to your hunting gear. Remember, for safety reasons; do not climb carrying your bow, gun, and other hunting gear. You can haul this up later when you’re secured in your position on the tree.
- Once on the tree stand, attach your body safety harness on the tree.
Once all the safety checks are good, this is the part where you start climbing.
- Unlock, the upper part of the climbing tree, stand and then put this about a foot up higher. You should now be almost in a standing position. Again, make sure this is locked-on with the tree.
- Pull up the platform part of the climbing tree stand with your feet harness and lock it to its new position. You should be now almost in sitting position.
- With the platform bonded to its new position, stand and pull up the top portion a couple inches up. Secure this again.
- Do the same steps as you inch yourself up to the tree? Top portion up, then secure. Bottom portion up and secure. Careful not to move too much to avoid dislodging the tree stand from the trunk
- Once you reach the part where your safety harness strap is located, put this one up in a higher position above you again. Double check harness locks.
- Then proceed again with steps 5 to 9, until you reach the height where you want to be.
- Once you get to that height and everything is locked onto the tree, you can now haul up your hunting gear using the line you tied it with earlier.
Climbing Tree Stand vs. Hang-On Tree Stand
Which one is better, the climbing tree stand or the hang-on type? Ask seasoned hunters and they’ll give you these two options often. We’ve already described how climbing tree stands work, how about the hand-on type.
It requires you to climb the tree using climbing sticks and harness, with the hang-on stand strapped on your back. Once you get to the height you want and the sticks in place as your ladder steps, you then lock on the stand on the tree and secure yourself in place.
Climbing Tree Stand
Hang-on Tree Sand
Easy-to-setup. Once the two part system is installed on the ground, you can climb easily.
Easy-to-setup. No need to worry about platforms or seat rest part. Once you have climbed to the height and position you want, just wrap and secure that stand as instructed by the manual, then open up the platform and you’re ready to lock yourself in that position.
Safe, secured and silent cable system that locks itself around the tree effectively.
Safe, secured and silent setup.
Comfortable and secured with mesh or arm rest.
Cheap – You can purchase a couple of these with the price of one climbing tree stand
Closed front system gives you more security while on the small platform
Climb and secure your base with climbing sticks or ladder. No need to worry about crooked branches/limbs all around the tree.
Has arm rests, seat cushion and some even have back cushion.
Choose models with shock absorbers in its mechanism. This with help in keeping your stealth in case you need to move fast.
With closed front systems and safety harness in place, you can even take a nap and still feel safe on top
In case you need to go further, you can climb further away from the platform in just a minute or less.
Many new models have ergonomic boot stirrups to keep your feet within the platform. No need to worry about slipping off a climbing step
This can be a semi-permanent setup. You can install a couple of hand-on tree stands in strategic locations.
If you live to cover more ground, the climbing tree stand allows you to be more mobile.
Allows you to move fast between climbing and descending. You can leave the stand and climb down with the sticks whenever needed.
Need to climb with ‘climbing sticks’. Not many hunters like this process; you have to install the sticks up the tree as you climb.
Although you can probably remove some small branches blocking the climbing path, the height that you can climb is limited by how void of limbs the tree is.
Since hang on doesn’t have its cable climbing system, you will need to purchase extra climbing gear; ladder, climbing cables, tree steps, etc.
Requires a straight, sturdy tree with no branches for you to climb further.
Requires some fitness level to be able to climb some considerable height.
Usually, comes with small platforms that are just enough for you to stand up or sit down.
You will need to go back to each of your tree stand spots to remove each, which limits your hunting ground coverage.
Hang-on Tree stands are easy to remove, and there’s a possibility that someone might steal your stand when hunting on public grounds.
Most hunters have both climbing, and hang-on tree stands ready among their gear, and they decide which one to carry based on the terrain or hunting ground they want to cover.
The terrain plays an important part on what type of trees grows within the area and the amount of hiking you need to cover ground.
- If the action requires you to move more and cover more, use the climbing tree stand.
- If you plan to stay on watch in one spot most of the time, choose hang-on stands.
- If the hunting area has more oak or cottonwood trees, it won’t work with climbers. You won’t be able to wrap the cable system and climb a considerable height of because of the large limbs blocking the climbing path.
- Some hunters believe that an all-day sit on their favorite hunting spot is the best strategy, then the hang-on is the best option.
- If you like to be on the move whenever you feel like, say change your hunting spot from time to time, then bring a climber.
There is no doubt that a climbing tree stands is a top choice when you want to hunt and cover a larger area. You can set it up wherever you go and no need to go back on each spot.
On the other hand, if you have spotted your favorite hunting spots, you can easily install hang-on stands and move within those points from time to time.
Some hunters use both. They install hang-on on their best spots, leave it there, and use it whenever they want to. That’s assuming that your hang-on doesn’t get stolen.
And then if you need to move according to deer or hunting activity, you can always carry around a climber tree stand.