Hunters utilize a deer stand or tree stand secured to trees to provide them with an elevated vantage point for sighting their prey. This type of equipment is either open or enclosed, depending on preference. A similar device is a tripod stand that is technically not classified as a tree stand because it is not attached to a tree and instead has a freestanding design. Knowing how to install and use a tree stand could spell the difference between optimizing every hunting trip and ending up hospitalized or dead.
Know the parts of the climbing or tree stand
The base piece is what the hunter climbs on to get on the seat, and also serves as the platform to hunt from, to look through the woods and to shoot from.
The top portion of the stand facilitates the climbing process, and from a safety standpoint, provides a place to sit on.
Some hunters prefer leaving the climbing or tree stand attached to the bottom of the tree, especially when they own the property they hunt in. Attachment is pretty straightforward and simple.
The tree stand comes with essential accessories such as the climbing harness, which is considered by many to be the most important piece of (separately bought) equipment that should accompany the tree stand. The climbing harness is used much like a parachute harness that you suit up with. It has a D- or O-ring that clips to another harness that goes around the tree to keep the hunter strapped to the tree. It has a strap that goes between the legs, ensuring the user is secured to the tree. There are other rings through which the straps go through. Pull up any loose straps tight under your legs.
Attach the bag holding your quivers to the stand. For safety’s sake, when bringing a bow and arrow or gun to hunt, leave the bow and gun on the ground and simply attach a rope them that you can use to pull the weapons up when you’ve climbed up the tree.
Get on the stand
Get on the platform section and into the center of the stand, which will move on you while you get in it. The tree stand works on a fulcrum mechanism. This functions by taking the hunter’s weight on the stand to brace onto the tree even more. At the base section are straps where the feet or hunting boots are put in. While the feet are attached to the straps, the hunter uses their legs to pull the base of the tree stand up.
A strap goes around the tree, and it has the same type of latching mechanism as the harness the hunter suits up with at the start. This strap is a little more substantial than the first to ensure holding capacity. Take the strap with the D-ring that is at the back of the climbing harness, pull it to the front and hook the D-ring through the loop on the second strap attached to the tree. Listen to a click to ensure it’s in, then twist the knob around to tighten. This attaches the hunter to the harness around the tree, keeping them safe from falling to the ground. Position the harness above the head or at head level.
Make sure everything is secure and…
While seated on the top portion of the stand, pull your feet up. Using a fulcrum mechanism, the bottom portion attaches to the tree a little higher. Stand up, pull the top portion to you, sit then pull the bottom portion up again. This brings you higher up. Move the climbing harness with the strap higher up. Remember not to move a lot while positioning the strap and harness to a higher position, to prevent potential falls.
Sit down again to take the weight off your legs, pull the bottom portion up with your legs and move the top portion to you again while standing. You will feel the clasp of the bottom of the tree stand bite into the tree, letting you know you’re connected to the tree. The fulcrum action occurs as you lean back. Worm your way up the tree this way till you get to the height you want to hunt at.
Should you encounter a tree limb such as a twig, break it off to move the strap up. If it’s a branch, see if you can work your way around it. If not, you can only go to the height of that branch. Tip: pick trees that are clean and that will allow you to climb to the level you want to be at.
Free your feet from the base
Make sure all the parts are secure and well attached. You will still be connected through the climbing harness, of course, but you’re free to move around in the tree stand.
Pull up your bow and/or your gun that you left on the ground below.
Remember to hunt safe. You can use a face mask so your prey won’t see you. Gloves for holding the bow can also be used. Avoid moving around too much in the tree stand. Despite the secure performance this type of equipment is supposed to deliver, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.