One of my most-asked questions via email and when presenting seminars is, “Should I use a hang-on, ladder or climber-style stand?” It’s a great question, but like so many things in the whitetail world, there isn’t one simple answer. Here’s the deal.
Whitetail hunters who own, lease or have permission to hunt private property and aren’t big fans of climbing sticks or steps can opt for ladder stands. Ladder stands were designed to be placed and not moved for long periods of time. Over the years, manufacturers have made these stands stable, stout and comfortable. One tip: When erecting a ladder stand, take a buddy along. This makes the stand easier to maneuver and allows you to place it perfectly in the tree. Also, maximize your seat height by not running the ladder at a drastic outward angle from the tree.
Climbing stands are ideal for those hunting a new piece of property. A climber allows you to scout and hunt at the same time. One tip: Learn to use your climber before you hunt with it. You don’t want your first experience with a climbing stand to be in the pre-morning darkness at the base of a big hardwood. Also, don’t be afraid to move several times in a single day. Last season while hunting Kansas, I moved my climber three times in a five-hour period. The reward for that effort was a Pope and Young buck.
A hang-on is my choice when I need to get in a tight, crooked tree. Today’s hang-on stands are light and easily maneuverable. One hint: When placing a hang-on in a less-than-friendly tree, stand at the base of the tree and plan out the setup in your mind. This will save you a ton of hassle later on.