Why I Prefer Double Ladder Stands for Whitetail Hunting (Even Solo)

Double ladders are designed for two hunters, but the author prefers them when hunting solo, too.

Why I Prefer Double Ladder Stands for Whitetail Hunting (Even Solo)

My typical whitetail season is spread over three states: Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. I enjoy the challenges that come with these destinations, especially due to the fact I hunt such different terrain in each state. In my home state of Minnesota, I’m targeting suburban whitetails that live on the outskirts of the Twin Cities. In eastern South Dakota, I’m bowhunting river-bottom and shelterbelt whitetails that move into the trees after living most of the year on the prairie. In western Wisconsin, the deer thrive in a checkerboard of forest and agricultural.

No matter my destination, one thing I’ve learned after 40 years of deer hunting is treestand choice is critical; that is, matching the ideal treestand or ladder stand for the situation at hand. Because I’m not the sharpest broadhead in the quiver, it took me longer than it should have to realize double ladder stands aren’t just best for two hunters. I had a particular spot in SoDak that was killer for cruising rutting bucks, but every tree had too much lean for a hang-on stand.

For a couple years I used a single ladder stand in the spot, and it worked (barely), but it was best for a left-handed archer, and I’m right-handed. A lefty buddy of mine killed a mature buck from the ladder, but every time I climbed into it and tried hunting, I cursed the uncomfortable setup. The problem was the support tree was directly behind my drawing arm, so I couldn’t really draw toward the primary shooting lane without doing a dance on the small platform of the single ladder.

Single ladder stands work well for bowhunting provided you don’t have to shoot with your draw arm straight back toward the tree.
Single ladder stands work well for bowhunting provided you don’t have to shoot with your draw arm straight back toward the tree.

Finally, I purchased an Ol’ Man Assassin 18-foot Dual Ladder, and with help of my two hunting buddies, we placed the new double stand and then removed the single ladder. The benefits of a double vs. single ladder were immediate. With the double ladder’s wide seat and platform, I could sit or stand off to the side of the support tree. I could draw my bow and not have to worry about crashing my elbow into the tree. Likewise, my two buddies (both left-handed) could find a sweet spot to sit or stand alone on the double ladder and be in ideal position.

The author likes the wide seat and platform of a double ladder stand for hunting solo. No matter which direction he needs to shoot, with gun or bow, he can quietly move to a comfortable position.
The author likes the wide seat and platform of a double ladder stand for hunting solo. No matter which direction he needs to shoot, with gun or bow, he can quietly move to a comfortable position.

The only downsides to a double vs. single ladder are weight and cost. A double ladder weighs more than a single simply because it’s bigger. For this reason, a double ladder takes a bit more manpower to place on a tree. For the Ol’ Man Assassin 18-foot Dual Ladder (115 pounds; $249.99), I recommend three people to set it. For comparison, the Ol’ Man Assassin 17-foot Single Ladder weighs 92.5 pounds; price is $199.99. 

Several companies offer double ladder stands for deer hunters. A quick search online revealed offerings from Big Dog Hunting, Big Game Treestands, Hawk, Millennium Treestands (which also makes Ol’ Man), Muddy Outdoors, Primal Treestands, Rivers Edge Treestands, Summit TreestandsX-Stand Treestands, and others. Check them out so see which one is right for you.

I encourage you to place one or more double ladder stands for whitetails, even if you hunt solo. I think you’ll appreciate the extra room, and depending on the setup and terrain, a double ladder could provide ideal shooting where a single ladder simply didn’t get the job done.

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