The Different Types Of Tree Stands

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In general, treestands come in fixed, climbing, and ladder styles. Treestands are one of the most essential pieces of bowhunting equipment due to their variety of styles. You should choose your treestand based on the type of terrain you hunt. Avoid climbing treestands if you spend a lot of time in pine thickets or oak stands where the trees’ branches reach nearly ground level.

Climbing treestands require straight trees with few branches below 20 feet. In trees with many branches, a ladder stand or fixed position stand may work with a bit of trimming. Screw-in treestand steps or a ladder attached to the tree with straps will do the trick. Here are some characteristics of each type of treestand.

Climbing Treestands

In today’s hunting woods, climbing treestands are the most commonly used. They provide the bowhunter with a great deal of flexibility and comfort. There are two pieces to climbing treestands, and they are attached to the tree with straps that wrap around the trunk. The hunter stands on the lower portion of the treestand and pulls the lower platform upward while clinging to the upper part.

When you rest your weight on the lower platform of the treestand, it locks into position. A hunter will repeat this “climbing” process until they reach the level they intend to hunt. Since the hunter will pack a treestand into and out of the woods before and after each hunt, they are usually lightweight.

Ladder Stands

The ladder for these treestands is approximately 15 feet tall. The ladder is fitted with a seat and platform on top. A treestand rests against a tree and is attached to the tree at the platform and halfway up the ladder. These treestands are great because they allow bowhunters to sit virtually anywhere there is a tree. Trees with crooked branches don’t pose much of a problem with ladder-style treestands.

Having said that, these treestands are heavy and often require two people to safely mount on a tree. Most bowhunters leave their setups in their original locations once set up. 

Fixed Position Treestands

A fixed position treestand or hang-on treestand is a platform with a seat attached to the tree with a strap or chain. You can choose how you want to get onto the tree. These lightweight stands offer the bowhunter a large selection of tree locations from which to hunt. They are an excellent choice if you like to hunt under heavy cover for concealment, as these treestands can be placed in very tight spaces.

When it comes to gaining access to a treestand, most hunters use screw-in steps. These steps have a pointed and threaded end and are shaped into a step. Each step is screwed into the tree trunk until you reach your desired height. It takes a lot of effort and time to build this.  

One of my hunting friends carries a cordless drill with him to drill pilot holes for the steps, making it easier to get them started. You can also use small ladder sections. It’s easier to attach them to the tree, but they add weight to your load as you go in. In general, fixed position treestands are left where they are because moving them can be difficult, time-consuming and the action could spook deer

hunter in treestand aiming with bow

The ladder-style treestand I own is one that I bought to hunt a very well-used deer run going through a stand of pines and very well-aged, gnarly trees. Whenever I need to hunt quietly, I can climb up into it, concealing me well.

Additionally, I have a climbing treestand to hunt on that same property in many different areas. Getting into and out of various trees even the same day if I am not seeing deer is easy since it is light enough to carry on my back a mile or so to these other stand locations. 


Although I do not have a fixed-position treestand or hang-on style treestand, I have sat in many with friends hunting over the years. The flexibility they offer when choosing a tree to set up in is terrific. You can also sit in these treestands in a thicker cover, with branches to break up your silhouette.

As a result, comfort and even safety can be an issue since the platforms are usually smaller than climbing treestands. Similar to ladder-style treestands, they are at the ready waiting for you to hunt and are quiet enough to enter quickly in the dark.

Setting up your treestand should be quiet, sitting in it should be quiet, and shifting your weight should be quiet too. Your stand should also match the type of trees you prefer to hunt in.

My Summit Bushmaster climbing treestand is awesome. When climbing up and down trees or sitting in it waiting for deer, it is comfortable, lightweight, and quiet.

Hi, I'm Darren, and I've been bow hunting for over thirty years. I'm the senior- editor for this site, and I contribute to it regularly.

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