Best Tree Stands For Hunting in 2024 Tested And Reviewed

Written By John VanDerLaan 


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Are you looking for the best tree stand? You’ve come to the right place!

We have all of the top tree stands rated and reviewed so that you can decide which is the best for you.

We are a team made up of real hunters. We are outdoor writers, contributors, field testers and pro staff that put each of these stands through the rigors of multiple hunting seasons and then rate and review them based on our findings.

Our Top Picks

Best Climber

Summit Viper SD Climbing Tree Stand

Summit viper SD

Best Lock On

Millennium M150 Monster Tree Stand

millennium m150

Best Ladder

Rivers Edge Lockdown 21' Wide Ladder Stand

rivers edge lockdown

These are the best tree stands that we have tested and rated.

If you need help deciding which type of stand is for you, visit the tree stand buying guide below.

Below you will find complete reviews of all the best tree stands that we use every day.

How We Tested The And Rated The Tree Stands

Our team of expert hunters tested over 20 tree stands on a variety of criteria and came up with this list that we are confident to recommend and we tell you why in detail below.

Here are the criteria on which we rated these stands. Every member of our staff rated each stand on a scale of one to five for each of the criteria below, with five being the highest.

By using this method of testing and rating, it quickly became clear which tree stands were better than others.

  • Comfort: Comfort is a huge factor when choosing a stand. The more comfortable you are, the more time you will spend in the stand and the better your chances of a successful hunt. 
  • Ease Of Setup: We rated each stand for how quick and easy it was to set up.
  • Sturdiness: Some stands are so flimsy that they bend when you are climbing and they creak and squeak when you shift your weight. We tested and rated each stand on how strong and sturdy it is.
  • Noise: We rated each stand on how quiet it is. Some are definitely better than others and quiet is key when hunting deer. Things like teflon washers and lubricated washers made a huge difference.
  • Value: We rated each stand on how much value you get for your dollar. 

Best Tree Stands: Reviews And Recommendations

Top Climber

Summit Viper SD Climbing Tree Stand

The Summit Viper SD is a great stand for bowhunting and firearm hunting.

Summit-Lokt construction is super lightweight. Add in RapidClimb stirrups and QuickDraw cable retention system, and you have a state-of-the-art stand.

The Viper SD features high-quality welded aluminum construction, an adjustable 12” x 18” x 2” seat and 12” x 20” x 2” backrest, cushioned armrests, and padded  seat bar and backpack straps.

The roomy platform frame measures 20 Inches wide by 36 inches deep. The climber frame is 22.5 inches wide by 37.5 inches deep.

Plenty of room for spending all day in a tree.

The foam seat is suspended from the climber portion with straps and is super comfortable and infinitely adjustable.

It is super lightweight at only 20 pounds, thanks to the aluminum construction.

All Summit Treestands meet or exceed TMA standards.

Maximum weight capacity is 300 pounds.

This is one of the most comfortable stands that we have ever used.


  • Summit-Lokt aluminum construction
  • QuickDraw cable retention system
  • Deadmetal noise dampening technology
  • Adjustable 12" x 18” x 2” seat with 12” x 20” x 2” backrest
  • Cushioned armrests
  • Padded seat bar and backpack straps
  • Full-body harness included
  • RapidClimb stirrups


  • Extremely comfortable seat makes it easy to stay in the stand for long periods of time.
  • Padded backpack straps make it easy to transport through the woods.
  • Very solid in the tree. Does not move or make noise.
  • Wrap around bar makes a great rest for gun or crossbow.
  • Lasts for years and it is easy to get replacements parts direct from Summit. 


  • Some bowhunters don't like the wrap around bar. They say that it can get in the way of shooting if you are sitting down.

If we had to choose the one stand to hunt from, this would be it!

Unmatched for comfort and versatility. We Love Our Summit Viper!

Click the link for a complete list of the best Climbing tree stands.

Here is a video showing what Summit Treestands are all about.

Editor's Choice Hang On

Millennium Monster Tree Stand

The Millennium M150 Monster is a lok on stand with an oversized platform and a very comfortable seat making it a great choice for all day sits whether bowhunting or gun hunting.

The huge platform measures 24 inches wide by 37 inches deep earning it the Monster name.

The comfortable sling mesh seat is also a monster at 20 inches wide by 17 inches deep.

The all aluminum construction manages to keep its weight to a comfortable 19.5 pounds. Not lightweight, but it is a tradeoff for the size and comfort.

The aluminum is powder coated for a durable and quiet finish.

We love the ComfortMAX seat which is adjustable from 16 inches to 20 inches high, making it ideal for hunters big and small.

The stand itself is also adjustable so that you can level it in trees that are leaning as much as 15 degrees.

I have seen it posted online that the weight capacity is 350 pounds, but we have verified with Millennium that the correct weight capacity is 300 pounds.

A Millennium SafeLink is included with the M150. SafeLink is a 35 foot safety rope with a prussic knot and carabiner that is used when climbing up or down any tree so that you are protected in case of a fall.

Millennium Safelink


  • Powder coated aluminum construction
  • Patented ComfortMAX contoured sling seat
  • Seat folds easily for stand up shooting
  • Folds flat and is easily backpacked to your hunting spot
  • Includes Backpack straps
  • Includes Full Body Harness
  • Includes a SafeLink safety rope
  • Meets or exceeds TMA standards


  • Huge platform gives you more room to maneuver
  • Very comfortable contoured sling seat
  • Seat is adjustable in height from 16 inches to 20 inches 
  • Footrest included for easy chair comfort
  • Tree does not have to be straight. Stand is adjustable for trees leaning up to 15 degrees
  • SafeLink Included


  • At 19.5 pounds it can be difficult for one person to set up.

Let's face it, when we are looking for the ultimate tree stand, the number one concern has to be comfort and the Millennium Monster is the "easy chair" of hang on stands.

This is definitely the most comfortable stand in the lok on category.

Comfort equals more time in the stand which could lead to you tagging the buck of a lifetime. 

Here is an awesome video about Millennium Treestands.

Editor's Choice Ladder Stand

Rivers Edge Lockdown 21' Wide Ladder Stand

Rivers Edge is doing some great things with their newest offerings and the Lockdown really impressed us during testing.

The Ground Level Ratcheting System makes this ladder stand easy to set up and secured to the tree.

It was the fastest and easiest ladder stand to set up that we tested.

Once set up, the first thing we noticed was the lack of flexing when you climb the ladder. It gives you a feeling of security when you are climbing a sturdy ladder.

In the stand itself, I love the extra wide Tear Tough mesh seat. It is super comfortable and roomy.

The Lockdown is 21 feet high to the top of the shooting rail when set up, which is a perfect height for bowhunting or gun hunting.

The roomy platform measures 25" X 32.5" and the wide seat is 24" X 16".

The seat height is 19.5", which is very comfortable.

Weight capacity is 300 pounds.

The Rivers Edge Lockdown weighs in at a whopping 119 pounds and will require more than one person to set up, unless you are using a 2nd Man Installation Hoist.

The padded shooting rail makes a great rest for gun or crossbow and flips up quickly and easily for bowhunting.


  • Ground Level Ratcheting Technology
  • Wide TearTuff Mesh Seat
  • Ultimate Shooting Rail
  • Vinyl Dipped Parts For Durability And Sound Dampening
  • Octagonal Ladder Rails
  • LadderLock Connections
  • Footrest
  • 300 pound weight capacity
  • Includes Safety Harness
  • Meets or exceeds TMA standards


  • We love the easy set up with the Ground Level Ratcheting Technology.
  • Very deep, 32" platform is ideal for standing up to shoot.
  • The mesh seat is very comfortable. I could sit in it all day.
  • We love the footrest for all day comfort.
  • Stiffest and sturdiest ladder stand we have found yet.
  • It is a great height for bowhunting.


  • Very Heavy

When it comes to comfort, This stand is at the top of the list for most comfortable tree stands. To see more stands like this, visit our best ladder stand page.

Here's a great video that walks you through all of the features of The Lockdown.

Summit Mini Viper SD

Lightest Climber That Is Still Really Comfortable

Summit Mini Viper SD

The Summit Viper Mini SD is the little brother of the Summit Viper that is reviewed above.

It has all of the great features of the Viper, but in a smaller package, which means lighter weight.

The Mini Viper SD weighs in at just 18 pounds and is perfect for packing in to those big buck hiding spots deep in the woods.

Even though it is smaller than the Viper SD, it still has a 300 pound weight capacity.

The one thing that the Mini Viper is not small on is comfort.

It is still one of the most comfortable stands available despite its smaller size.

Speaking of size, just how small is it?

The platform measures 20 inches wide by 32 inches deep, compared to the Viper SD which is 20 Inches wide by 36 inches deep.

The climber portion with the suspended foam seat measures 22.5 inches wide by 33.5 inches deep, compared to the Viper which is 22.5 inches wide by 37.5 inches deep.

The Summit Mini Viper is great for bowhunters that like to get back into the remote areas where bucks are undisturbed.

Here is a comparison chart showing the specifications of all Summit Climbing stands so that you can see the differences.

Summit Climbing Tree Stands Comparison Chart

Check out the video below for more information on the Summit Mini Viper SD.


  • SummitLokt Construction - All extruded aluminum pieces are locked together before welding.
  • Dead Metal Sound Deadening Technology - Joints and other critical places are filled with a patented expanding foam to ensure complete silence.
  • QuickDraw Cable Retention System - The fastest and simplest way to secure the stand to the tree.
  • RapidClimb Stirrups - Secure your feet to the stand with these adjustable stirrups.
  • 2 inch thick foam seat suspended from the climber for unparalleled comfort complete with foam backrest.
  • Bungee Style umbilical cord that connects the platform and the climber. 
  • Cushioned arm rests
  • Full body safety harness included with safety strap and SR5 strap.


  • Super Lightweight climber that doesn't sacrifice comfort
  • Comfortable padded backpack straps for easy packing into remote areas
  • Very comfortable suspended foam seat with foam backrest and padded armrests for easy chair like comfort
  • Locks onto the tree solidly so you can hunt high with confidence
  • Will last for years and comes with Summit 5 year warranty.
  • Full body harness Included


  • Even though it has a 300 pound weight capacity, it is probably better for smaller hunters

As you can see, the Summit Mini Viper SD is a smaller climber that is big on features.

We have searched all over and we can find some lighter stands, but none that we can say are very comfortable.

The Summit Mini Viper SD gets the Editor's Choice award for that.

Hawk Denali 

Editor's Choice 2 Person Tree Stand

Hawk Denali 2 man ladder stand

There is nothing better than taking your children hunting and no better way to do that than with a 2 person stand.

We have tested and used many 2 person stands over the years and the Hawk Denali has performed the best for us. 

The Denali is 18 feet high measured to the top of the shooting rail and has a weight capacity of 500 pounds,

It is very roomy is with a platform that measures 51 inches wide by 17 inches deep and constructed of oversized grip mesh for superior traction.

What sets this stand apart is the comfort found in the 2 MeshComfort™ padded seats. These are the same type of seat that was only found on patio furniture until Hawk brought it to ladder stands

The combination of the MeshComfort™ seats and the large size makes The Denali one of the most comfortable stands for 2 people.

As you would expect, the Hawk Denali is quite heavy, weighing at at 108 pounds.

You will need at least 2 people and preferably 3 people to set up the Denali.

One of my favorite features of the Hawk Denali is the SAFE-TREAD™ steps.

They are large steps with stamped holes that grab wet, muddy boots for superior traction. 

They make climbing the ladder a breeze, without the risk of your boots slipping.

You can see the steps in the photo below.

Hawk Treestands SAFE-TREAD™ steps


  • Huge, patio chair sized MeshComfort™ Seats with a padded armrest in the middle.
  • Kick out footrests that double as grab rails when entering the stand.
  • Padded shooting rail that adjusts for bowhunting or gun hunting.
  • Oval tubing sprayed with textured powder coating for a better grip and protection from the elements.
  • Patented SAFE-TREAD™ ladder steps for superior traction regardless of the conditions.
  • Bolted ladder sections for noise free climbing.
  • Hawk Treestands exclusive tensioning system for safely climbing the first time to attach the ratchet straps.
  • Durable Construction.
  • Includes 2 safety harnesses.


  • The MeshComfort™ padded seats may be the most comfortable seating that we have found in a ladder stand.
  • We love the  SAFE-TREAD™ ladder steps. They virtually eliminate any chance of slipping and also knock any mud and debris off of your boots before you enter the stand.
  • The footrest is key for all day comfort.
  • The shooting rail can be adjusted for bowhunting or for a rifle or crossbow shooting rest.
  • It is a great height for bowhunting at 18 feet.
  • We love the bolted ladder sections. No more noise when climbing.


  • The tensioning system works, but it is not perfect.
  • The Hawk Denali is our top pick for the ultimate 2 person tree stand and you can see why.

    If you are taking your kids hunting, comfort is so important in order to keep them engaged.

    It is a great stand for bowhunting and gun hunting.

    Best Climber For Big Guys

    Summit Titan Climbing Tree Stand

    The Summit Titan is our Editor's Choice for the best climber for big guys for both bowhunting and gun hunting.

    Although it isn't just for big guys.

    If you are looking for the most comfortable tree stand for all day sits and you don't mind a slightly heavier stand, you have to look at the Summit Titan.

    The Titan weighs in at 25 pounds and has a 350 pound weight limit.

    It has a huge platform measuring 21 inches wide and 38.5 inches deep.

    The climber frame measures 24.5 inches wide by 39.5 inches deep.

    The super comfortable hanging seat has 2 inches of foam padding and measures 18 inches wide by 12 inches deep, complete with a padded foam backrest that is 12 inches wide bu 20 inches high.

    Add in the padded armrests and you could set up a couple of these in your living room for watching tv!

    Here's a video that shows some of the features of the Summit Titan.

    The Titan has all of the great features that Summit offers on its climbing tree stands.

    Lets's take a look at the features.


    • SummitLokt Structural Enhancement - Heavy Duty aluminum frame that locks together before being welded for extra strength and durability.
    • Dead Metal Sound Deadening Technology - Summit's proprietary system for eliminating unwanted noise by filling trouble spots with a patented expanding foam to ensure complete silence
    • QuickDraw Cable Retention System - No knobs, no nuts, nothing to fumble with in the dark. Just a simple trigger system that locks and unlocks the cable for ease of use.The fastest and simplest way to secure the stand to the tree.
    • RapidClimb Stirrups - You slip your feet into these stirrups and an attached bungee cord holds them firmly in place as you climb.
    • Umbilical Cord - Summit's Umbilical Cord is a bungee type cord that attaches to both pieces so that you can never lose one piece while climbing.
    • The suspended foam seat that Summit developed for its climbers is the most comfortable seat that we have found on a tree stand.
    • Padded camo backpack straps for easy backpacking to and from your tree.
    • Padded arm rests.


    • Incredibly comfortable stand with plenty of room for big guys.
    • Very solid when secured in the tree so that big guys can hunt confidently
    • Easy to climb with Summits sit and climb method
    • Very quiet in the tree, even when big guys are standing and shifting their weight
    • Platform is huge with plenty of room for big guys to stretch out.
    • Comes with a full body harness and all necessary hardware.


    • It is heavy and weight could be an issue if you are trying to get to remote areas
    • It is expensive

    We have some very big guys on our pro staff and they all rave about the Summit Titan.

    Lone Wolf Assault II

    Editor's Choice Lightweight Tree Stand

    Lone Wolf Assault II Hang On Tree Stand

    The Lone Wolf Assault II is a great lightweight stand.

    There are lighter stands out there, but they do not offer the comfort and versatility of the Lone Wolf Assault.

    The Lone Wolf Assault weighs in at 11 pounds, but keep in mind that you will need tree steps or climbing sticks in order to access the stand.

    The Assault platform measures 19 inches by 26 inches, big enough to move around on, but small enough to fit into less than ideal trees.

    The seat measures 12 inches by 14 inches and is 21 inches high.

    We'll be honest, the seat on the Assault is not the most comfortable.

    Our consensus here at is that it would be very difficult to spend all day in one of these stands.

    We have some on our staff that have done it, including yours truly, and it was very difficult to do.

    The Assault has a 300 pound weight limit, but you are not going to find many big guys using this stand.

    Here's a video showing how to set up a Lone Wolf with climbing sticks.

    Let's take a look at the features of the Lone Wolf Assault.


    • One Piece Cast Aluminum Platform
    • In Cast Bow Holder 
    • Distinctive 3D Camo Platform Design 
    • Contoured Foam Seat Folds Up For Extra Space
    • Slim Profile Pack
    • BackPack Straps For Getting Into Remote Places 
    • Includes a 6 Point Fall Arrest System


    • Best stand for getting into difficult trees
    • Great for mobile hunters due to light weight
    • Platform has very good traction compared to other stands
    • One of the quietest stands that we have tested
    • Easy to conceal in a tree
    • Comes with a 6 point fall arrest system


    • Seat is not comfortable for long sits. You will need an extra cushion.

    The Lone Wolf Assault II is the go to stand for that situation where you have a perfect place to intercept a buck, but there are only marginal trees to get into.

    There are very few situations where you can't hang this stand and that is why it received our pick for the best lightweight stand.

    Lightest Climber

    Lone Wolf Assault Hand Climber

    Lone Wolf is known for innovation and making great tree stands and the Assault Hand Climber does not disappoint.

    Weighing in at only 14.7 pounds thanks to Lone Wolf's one piece cast aluminum platform with patented 3D Camo design.

    It features a 26 inch by 19.5 inch platform and fits trees from 6 inches to 19 inches in diameter.

    It is a super light stand, but that comes at a cost and that cost is comfort.

    You just can't compare the comfort of a stand like the Summit Viper with the Lone Wolf.

    That being said, it has a lot of hunters that won't bow hunt from anything else.

    Here's a great video showing how to climb with the Lone Wolf Assault Hand Climber Combo.

    Let's take a look at the features of the Lone Wolf Assault Hand Climber Combo.


    • One Piece Cast Aluminum Platform
    • Uses 2 Traction Belts For Climbing
    • Distinctive 3D Camo Platform Design 
    • Slim Profile Pack
    • Contoured Foam Seat
    • BackPack Straps And Bungee Strap
    • Includes a 6 Point Fall Arrest System
    • Made In The USA


    • Great stand for bowhunters because of the open front
    • Great for mobile hunters due to light weight
    • Platform has very good traction compared to others
    • We really like the rubber traction belts for climbing
    • Very quiet for a climber 
    • Comes with a 6 point fall arrest system


    • Seat is not as comfortable as other climbing stands

    We have guys that absolutely love the Lone Wolf Assault and that is why we have included it here, but we need to be upfront and let you know that it is nowhere near as comfortable as our other top choices.

    If you are looking for the lightest climber on the market then the Lone Wolf Assault is for you.

    Best Budget Lock On Stand

    XOP Air Raid Evolution Tree Stand

    Here is the story behind XOP Treestands:

    XOP stands for Extreme Outdoor Products and was started by the founder of Lone Wolf Hunting Products and his son.

    They started XOP soon after the patent ran out on Lone Wolf Treestands.

    They took the patented design of the Lone Wolf and improved upon it by making the I beam out of cast aluminum, adding a more comfortable seat and changing the color scheme.

    They are less expensive than Lone Wolf, but they are not made in the USA.

    Either way, we felt that they needed to be included in our top tree stand roundup.

    The platform measures 21 inches by 31.5 inches and the thick cushioned seat measures 11 inches by 14 inches.

    Weighing in at just 11.8 pounds thanks to the sound deadening cast aluminum construction and has a weight limit of 350 pounds.

    Here's a video on the that will show you everything about the Air Raid Evolution.


    • Constructed From 100% Patented Sound Deadening Cast Aluminum
    • Quick Connect Bracket For XOP's Exclusive Offset Leveling Design
    • In cast accessory hooks for Binoculars and other hunting gear
    • Fast Strap Attachment Buttons
    • Heavy Duty UV Treated Straps For Longer Life
    • Integrates With XOP Climbing Sticks for Easy Mobile Hunting
    • Dual Action Seat Cushion That Works For Leaning And Sitting
    • Includes a 6 Point Fall Arrest System


    • Great price
    • Great for mobile hunters due to light weight
    • One piece cast aluminum platform design
    • Easy installation using the cam buckles
    • Very thick cushion in the seat
    • You can hang it in just about any tree


    • No backrest

    If you are in the market for a great hang on stand, you owe it to yourself to check out the XOP Air Raid Evolution.

    We love the technology and improvements on the Lone Wolf design, but we are not crazy about the fact that they are made overseas.

    Great Lightweight Option

    Millennium M100U Light Hang On Tree Stand

    For all of you hunters out there that are looking for the lightest stand you can find, this is it.

    Weighing in at just 13.5 pounds and has a 300 pound weight limit, although I can't imagine a 300 pound guy in this stand.

    The platform measures a surprising 20 inches wide by 38 inches deep and the seat height is 17 inches.

    The seat itself is Millennium's patented comfortMAX contoured, tight sling style seat. Comfortable for short periods, but you are not sitting dawn to dusk on that seat.

    The M100U Microlite accepts Millennium's CamLock Receiver system, which is a cam lock that straps onto the tree and then the stand slides into it.

    This is ideal for mobile hunters that have multiple sets. You can simply strap the cam lock onto multiple trees and then quickly and quietly move the M100U to the tree of your choice.

    Here's a great video showing you the Millennium M100U and the CamLocK System.


    • Powder coated aluminum construction
    • Patented ComfortMAX contoured sling style seat
    • Seat folds easily for stand up shooting
    • Folds flat and is easily transported
    • Accepts the CamLock Receiver System
    • Includes Backpack straps
    • Includes Full Body Harness
    • Includes a SafeLink safety rope
    • Meets or exceeds TMA standards


    • Super lightweight for easy transport and easy hanging
    • Great for mobile hunters due to light weight
    • Platform is a good size for the weight
    • Accepts the CamLock Receiver System
    • Very quiet for such a light stand
    • Comes with a SafeLink safety rope
    • Comes with a 6 point fall arrest system


    • Seat is not as comfortable as as the M150

    Some of our guys on staff are what we call run and gunners. These guys have multiple stand sets and adjust their hunts based on conditions.

    The M100U Light is the perfect stand to have multiple CamLocks set up on your hunting property and just one stand that you can move from CamLock to CamLock.

    If you are looking for the lightest stand available today, then the Millennium M100U is for you.

    Tree Stand Buying Guide

    Tree stands are key to your success as a deer hunter. They allow you a much better view of your surroundings. 

    They also keep you above a deer's line of sight, and help to keep your scent from reaching the deer. 

    There are three basic types of tree stands. They are hang on, climbing, and ladder stands. 

    Which one you choose will depend on your personal preferences as well as your specific hunting situation. 

    Here's a great video explaining the different aspects of choosing a climbing stand or a hang on stand.

    Below you will find a description of each type of stand and how to best use them.  

    Climbing Tree Stands

    Climbing tree stands consist of two pieces. The platform and the hand climber or seat section.

    Your feet lock into the platform and you climb the tree by securing the upper portion and then pulling up the platform with your legs.

    You then raise the upper section again and pull your feet up again. It is very simple to master with a little practice.

    Climbers are very versatile. You can change your position in the tree in seconds and the height of the seat is infinitely adjustable.

    These are my favorite tree stands, mainly because they are so comfortable. The more comfortable that you are. The longer you will stay in the tree.

    These are not the same climbing tree stands that your father used to hunt from.

    Today's climbers are rock solid and safe. I hunt more than 200 hours a year out of my climbers and I have never had one slip.

    Click this link to visit our list of the best climbing tree stands.

    Hang On Tree Stands

    Hang on stands(also called lock on stands) are semi permanent, meaning that they are left in the tree and accessed either from screw in steps or climbing sticks. 

    They take a little more time to set up than say, a climber, but once they are in the tree, they are easy to get in and out of quietly and can be left in the tree all season. 

    Hang ons offer versatility as far as tree selection is concerned. The tree does not have to be perfectly straight and these stands can be attached to a wider range of tree sizes.

    Hang on treestands should be part of your deer stand placement strategy.

    These stands come with either a strap or chain to attach them to the tree. I prefer to add at least one ratchet strap for a more solid connection to the tree.

    Click this link to visit our list of the best hang on tree stands.

    Ladder Stands

    Ladder stands consist of both the ladder and the platform in one unit after assembly. 

    They are heavy and usually require two people to set up. Again, an extra ratchet strap is suggested for stability.

    Ladder stands are preferred by some hunters because of the ease in which you can get in and out of them. 

    They are also very comfortable, which means that you will stay longer. Increasing your odds of bagging that buck!

    They look very intrusive when you first set them up, but I have found that if you set them up early in the spring and leave them there, the deer become accustomed to them and don’t even notice them.

    I have three children and have found that the best 2 man ladder stand is a great way to introduce young ones to youth deer hunting and teach them some deer hunting tips for beginners.

    Click this link to visit our list of the best ladder stands.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How high should a tree stand be? 

    A tree stand should usually be between 15 and 20 feet from the ground. Any lower than that and you begin to lose the advantages of hunting from a tree stand, such as keeping your scent above the deer and staying above the deer's line of sight. Any higher than that and you start to have issues with the downward angle. You can see this for yourself by setting up a stand in your backyard and shooting at a 3D deer archery target. You will see that the higher you go, the smaller the vitals get and the more difficult the shot will be. It also becomes more difficult to find the exact yardage you should be shooting. The best rangefinders for bow hunting can accurately give you the correct yardage by figuring out the angle compensation. It will be less yardage that the line of sight and can cause you to shoot over the deer if not figured correctly.

    What is the safest type of tree stand? 

    The safest type of tree stand is believed to be the ladder stand because it is the easiest to climb, as well as the easiest to enter and exit the stand. However, all tree stands are safe as long as you are careful and follow a few simple rules which you can find in the Tree Stand Safety section below.

    What tree stand is best for bowhunting? 

    The best treestand for bowhunting is the Summit Viper SD tree stand. Some bowhunters do not like the wrap around bar when bow hunting because it easy to bump when maneuvering a compound bow around for a shot and they usually choose the Lone Wolf Assault. However, the bar makes a great rest for a crossbow. Any of the treestands reviewed above are great for bowhunting.

    What type of tree stand is the most comfortable?

    The most comfortable tree stands are the climbing treestands because they have very comfortable seats. There are some comfortable seats in ladder stands and a few in hang on treestands, but generally the climbers are most comfortable. Also consider using one of our picks for best tree stand umbrella to keep you comfortable in bad weather.

    Keep in mind that there are other factors to consider when we are talking about comfort. You should wear comfortable pants and boots with the best hunting socks that you can find. Do everything that you can to keep your feet warm while hunting. All of these factors will help you stay in your treestand longer and increase your chances of success.

    Are there tree stand alternatives for hunting deer?

    Yes, there are alternatives to treestands when you are hunting deer.

    Here are some of the more popular treestand alternatives:

    • Ground Blinds - Ground blinds are a very effective alternative to tree stands and are a great solution for any hunter that is not comfortable in a tree. Ground blinds can be a simple enclosure made from branches and bows or they can be one of the manufactured blinds. Most blinds on the market are like camouflaged pop up tents that you can set up along game trails where deer come out during the day, and wait inside for the deer to appear.
    • Box Tower Blinds - Box tower blinds are raised structures, usually on four legs with an enclosed blind on the top. These are very common in open fields in some areas. They can be very effective and they are a great way to stay out of the elements while deer hunting. You will need a good hunting chair to be comfortable in a box tower blind.
    • Tripod Stands - Tripod stands are similar to box blinds, but they are supported by three legs. They are used in the same situations as box blinds.
    • Still Hunting - Still hunting can be a great alternative to tree stands when deer hunting. Still hunting is moving at a very slow pace while keeping the wind in your favor and trying to spot the deer before they spot you.

    Tree Stand Safety

    Tree stand safety is one of the most important things that we, as deer hunters, need to understand. Every time I look at the deer hunting statistics regarding injuries, it amazes me to see that so many people are hurt every year from totally preventable falls from tree stands.

    If you were to ask the average non-hunter, What do you think is the #1 cause of injury to hunters? I am sure that they would reply that it had something to do with firearms or dangerous weapons. 

    So, we have to ask ourselves. Why is this not the case?

    It seems to me that hunters may not understand just how dangerous hunting from a tree stand can be if a few simple rules are not followed.

    Below is a list of those few simple rules. Please abide by them. Not just for yourself, but for the ones you love!

    Related: Tree Stand Hunting Accident Statistics

    Tree Stand Safety Guidelines

    RELATED: Essential Tree Stand Maintenance Tips To Ensure A Safe Hunting Season

    • ALWAYS wear the best hunting safety harness meeting TMA Standards even during ascent and descent. Be aware that single strap belts and chest harnesses are no longer the preferred Fall-Arrest devices and should not be used. Failure to use a FAS could result in serious injury or death. Using a tree stand without a safety harness is like carrying a deer decoy in the woods during firearm season. DON'T DO IT!
    • ALWAYS read and understand the manufacturer’s WARNINGS & INSTRUCTIONS before using the stand each season. Practice with the stand at ground level prior to using at elevated positions. Maintain the WARNINGS & INSTRUCTIONS for later review as needed. Never exceed the weight limit specified by the manufacturer. If you have any questions after reviewing the WARNINGS & INSTRUCTIONS, please contact the manufacturer.
    • ALWAYS inspect the tree stand and the Fall-Arrest System for signs of wear or damage before each use. Contact the manufacturer for replacement parts. Destroy all products that cannot be repaired by the manufacturer and/or exceed recommended expiration date, or if the manufacturer no longer exists. The FAS should be discarded and replaced after a fall has occurred.
    • ALWAYS practice in your Full Body Harness in the presence of a responsible adult, learning what it feels like to hang suspended in it at ground level.
    • ALWAYS attach your Full Body Harness in the manner and method described by the manufacturer. Failure to do so may result in suspension without the ability to recover into your tree stand. Be aware of the hazards associated with Full Body Harnesses and the fact that prolonged suspension in a harness may be fatal. Have in place a plan for rescue, including the use of cell phones or signal devices that may be easily reached and used while suspended. If rescue personnel cannot be notified, you must have a plan for recovery/escape. If you have to hang suspended for a period of time before help arrives, exercise your legs by pushing against the tree or doing any other form of continuous motion. Failure to recover in a timely manner could result in serious injury or death. If you do not have the ability to recover/escape, hunt from the ground.
    • ALWAYS hunt with a plan and if possible a buddy. Before you leave home, let others know your exact hunting location, when you plan to return and who is with you. This is extremely important, not just for tree stand safety, but for hunting safety in general!
    • ALWAYS carry emergency signal devices such as a cell phone, walkie-talkie, whistle, signal flare, PLD (personal locator device) and flashlight on your person at all times and within reach even while you are suspended in your FAS. Watch for changing weather conditions. In the event of an accident, remain calm and seek help immediately.
    • ALWAYS select the proper tree for use with your tree stand. Select a live straight tree that fits within the size limits recommended in your tree stands instructions. Do not climb or place a tree stand against a leaning tree.
    • ALWAYS use a haul line to pull up your gear and unloaded firearm, bow or uncocked crossbow to your stand once you have reached your desired hunting height. Never climb with anything in your hands or on your back. It is okay to climb with a binocular harness. Prior to descending, lower your equipment on the opposite side of the tree.
    • ALWAYS know your physical limitations. Don’t take chances. If you start thinking about how high you are, don’t go any higher.
    • NEVER use homemade tree stands. They are rarely made of pressure treated wood and even if they are, how long does pressure treated wood last?
    • ONLY purchase and use tree stands and Fall-Arrest Systems meeting or exceeding TMA standards. For a detailed list of certified products, refer to the TMA web site for more information on tree stand safety.
    • NEVER hurry!! While climbing with a tree stand, make slow, even movements of no more than ten to twelve inches at a time. Make sure you have proper contact with the tree and/or tree stand every time you move. On ladder-type tree stands, maintain three points of contact with each step. Climbing up and down a tree becomes more difficult when you are cold. Follow these tips on how to stay warm while hunting in a tree stand.
    • DON'T USE A TREE STAND IN BAD WEATHER! Using a tree stand in high winds or icy conditions is extremely dangerous. Choose to hunt from the ground during these conditions.

    RELATED: Best Barometric Pressure For Deer Hunting

    Tree Stand safety does not happen by chance. You must make a conscious effort to be safe in your tree. It only takes a few minutes to properly abide by the rules above. 

    Those few minutes could save your life!

    RELATED: US Hunting Statistics, Facts And Trends

    Final Thoughts

    Tree stands are essential to your success as a deer hunter, especially bow hunting.

    If you are new to bow hunting, Click here to learn about bow hunting for beginners.

    We have provided you with in depth reviews so that you can make an educated decision about the best one for you or the best gift for your hunter.

    We hope that you have gotten some value out of our buying guide and our safety guidelines.

    RELATED: Best Headlamp For Hunting

    Happy hunting!  

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    John VanDerLaan

    John VanDerLaan is the managing editor here at He oversees a team of editors, writers and pro staff that are subject matter experts in hunting and hunting gear. John's expertise includes thoroughly testing all types of hunting gear, as well as hunting all over the U.S. and Canada. While his hunting expertise includes game birds, small game and large game, his favorite game animal is the whitetail deer and he loves to share the knowledge that he has gained over 40 years of chasing the wily whitetail with both archery gear and firearms. John is an active member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America.

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