Dr. John Woods 12.18.19
Ladder stands have gained in popularity over the years as the deer hunting crowd has grown older. This type of stand incorporates a number of safety and comfort features, but they are not without requirements for correct procedures to put them on a tree.
Ladder stands are just that — a ladder with multiple steps or even sections to reach heights that vary from as low as 10 feet up to 20 feet or so. At the top will be a platform of various design which often includes a seat, arm rests, footrest, and a safety bar that is fixed or lowers down in front of the hunter as a shooting rail. The trick is getting the stand strapped to the tree.
To mount a ladder stand appropriately, the base of the selected tree needs to be cleared out so the stand ladder’s “feet” can be pressed into the ground. The angle on the tree has to be calculated and set up right so the seat platform is level, not being tilted. This is a two-man job to be done safely and correctly. Do not try putting one up alone.
First the ladder sections and seat platform are assembled on the ground and laid out upside down in front of the tree. Next, the stand is “walked” up to the tree to set the platform’s tree gripping teeth against the tree at the right angle. Then the legs are pressed down into the dirt at the base to aid in stability.
With the stand raised into the proper position, one person has to climb the ladder while the other holds the ladder steady. In this position before attached, the stand can slide off the tree. Some stands come with a strap to be attached to the tree about 5-6 feet up for extra stability before climbing.
The ladder has to be held tightly as the climber goes up to attach a heavy duty ratchet strap or chain around the tree connected to the stand. Before tightening the strap, double-check the seat and ladder angle. Then the ratchet is cranked tight to pull the stand to the tree. When tight, give it a couple more cranks. Carefully try to move the stand to see if it is locked to the tree.
Again on the ground, shake the ladder back and forth to test its stability to the tree. When climbing a ladder stand to hunt, go slowly and be careful. Once in the seat, attach and adjust your safety strap and pull down the safety bar over your head. You should be ready to hunt.