Mathews Inc.
what is the ideal height of a treestand?
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
Deer_slayer 02-Oct-08
Northwoods 02-Oct-08
treestand 02-Oct-08
dgee 02-Oct-08
thetxman 02-Oct-08
Buckfvr 02-Oct-08
Carpshooter 02-Oct-08
Ron 03-Oct-08
JUSTHUNT1 03-Oct-08
Bou'bound 03-Oct-08
timberghost 03-Oct-08
Bernie1 03-Oct-08
Owl 03-Oct-08
Iowa bound 03-Oct-08
Iowa bound 03-Oct-08
Gary C. 03-Oct-08
BowSniper 03-Oct-08
Hunterson 03-Oct-08
Lee 03-Oct-08
live2hunt88 03-Oct-08
B4LITE 03-Oct-08
RD 03-Oct-08
StillTryin 03-Oct-08
bowriter 03-Oct-08
Genesis 04-Oct-08
Deer_slayer 14-Oct-08
stxt2000 16-Oct-08
thesquid 16-Oct-08
Timbow 16-Oct-08
Deer_slayer 03-Nov-08
Africanbowhunter 03-Nov-08
FXRScotty 03-Nov-08
Owl 04-Nov-08
howler 04-Nov-08
Sad Daddy 04-Nov-08
KSArcher 04-Nov-08
kennelboy 04-Nov-08
fishman 04-Nov-08
dgee 04-Nov-08
cubdriver 04-Nov-08
DAVE EWERT 04-Nov-08
Deer_slayer 04-Nov-08
jhelton 05-Nov-08
Bou'bound 04-Nov-17
WV Mountaineer 04-Nov-17
ahunter55 04-Nov-17
ground hunter 04-Nov-17
notme 04-Nov-17
ahunter55 04-Nov-17
Pigsticker 04-Nov-17
Kodiak 04-Nov-17
JTV 04-Nov-17
JL 04-Nov-17
Franklin 04-Nov-17
TGbow 05-Nov-17
ground hunter 05-Nov-17
Arrowhead 05-Nov-17
Cheetah8799 05-Nov-17
JTV 05-Nov-17
ground hunter 05-Nov-17
Greg Kush 05-Nov-17
Brian M. 05-Nov-17
Sand man 26-Nov-19
Overland 26-Nov-19
Paul@thefort 26-Nov-19
The last savage 26-Nov-19
timex 27-Nov-19
bwhntr 27-Nov-19
itshot 27-Nov-19
Pop-r 27-Nov-19
GF 27-Nov-19
Bloodtrail 27-Nov-19
Two Feathers 27-Nov-19
Mailman 27-Nov-19
1boonr 28-Nov-19
Buffalo1 28-Nov-19
fran 28-Nov-19
DonVathome 28-Nov-19
BOHUNTER09 28-Nov-19
Hawkeye 28-Nov-19
dnovo 28-Nov-19
From: Deer_slayer
02-Oct-08
How high should i put my tree stands and what is the shortest you can get away with good results? Thanks Guys and Gals

From: Northwoods
02-Oct-08
You won't get a big deer unless you are exactly 16'5" from the ground to the base of the stand......

Seriously, hang where you feel you are in the best position to see your game and to make your shot while maintaining concealment from that game and where you blend in to your surroundings.

I generally like to hunt "high". However, in many situations that isn't possible, nor is it the best decision. You have to weigh all the factors that go into tree stand hunting.

Northwoods

From: treestand
02-Oct-08
Nortwoods is correct. All I hunt is mature bucks so I usually try to get 20 to 25 feet up. At times, I may be only 16-18 feet up, but, that is the exception. Usually though I am up in the 20-25 foot range.

From: dgee
02-Oct-08
ive heard of 8-12 before too......im usually around 20-25 as well

From: thetxman
02-Oct-08
I hunt at about 11 feet. I have a lot of success, i have had a lot of nice big deer in shooting range.

From: Buckfvr
02-Oct-08
buy a 20 foot ladder hang your stand at or near the top and you're good....I sometimes use a few magnum tree steps for hand holds when I need to use the very top step on my ladders. R

From: Carpshooter
02-Oct-08
I hunt at 15 feet as the fall is harder above that,I do use a harness,but you never know!

From: Ron
03-Oct-08
The way I look at it is I never hunt of any stand higher than I could jump out of with out killing my self. I've shot many deer from stands that were no higher than 8 ft. high. I guess it all depends on how much you are willing to gamble for a deer. I have sit on the ground and have deer walk up on me.

From: JUSTHUNT1
03-Oct-08
If you don't like hunting high you might try hunting out of a hedge tree. Once you get it cut out you never have to cut it again and it provides great cover.

From: Bou'bound
03-Oct-08
in the middle of the cover so you are able to blend in. how high is the cover?

From: timberghost
03-Oct-08
For me, there are two factors that decide how high I climb. The first is terrain and the second it back ground cover.

The height of my climb could be anywhere from 10 to 20 foot. Last year for example, I had a bear stand that was on a hill side above the bait. Because of the slope if I would have set up my stand at 20 ft. I would have been almost 30 ft above my bait. As a result, I only climbed 10 leaving me with a comfortable shoot distance and angle. (I killed a bear the 2 day in that stand)

My second consideration is cover. You never want to be silhouetted against the sky or distant trees. I like to climb into hanging tree branches and cut spaces out that I can shoot through.

One other piece of advice. Always set up you stand so you’re most likely shooting direction is over your opposite shoulder…..I.E. if you shoot right handed; set the stand so that the likely shot is off to your left.

Timber

From: Bernie1
03-Oct-08
25ft

From: Owl
03-Oct-08
My pull rope is 20' long. I cut and climb to its length or lower depending on available cover. I am not one to get 30+ feet high. I just do not care for the shot angles in the nosebleed seats, although, you have a better chance going undetected.

From: Iowa bound
03-Oct-08
Two of the biggest deer I ever shot my tree stand was only 10 feet high with great cover. The key is your cover.

From: Iowa bound
03-Oct-08
Two of the biggest deer I ever shot my tree stand was only 10 feet high with great cover. The key is your cover.

From: Gary C.
03-Oct-08
Some years back I killed a number of deer from a ladder stand that was so successful it became known as the "ladder of death" among my hunting buddies... and it was 6 feet tall! I got the stand from my father and considered it almost useless because of it's height, but on a whim I set it up about 15 yards from a well used drop into and across a creek, almost totally concealed in ground cover around the tree. I had deer walk past that tree (using the creek crossing) at literally point blank range, and never one did I get busted.

Put a bunch of doe in the freezer though...

From: BowSniper
03-Oct-08
I like to be above 20 feet minimum, and higher where possible. Its just as important to also be up on a tree where there is some background cover or branches to help break up your profile.

Above all... location, location, location. :-)

From: Hunterson
03-Oct-08
I have had good success between 16 - 20 feet. Usually around 18 feet. But like many have said, cover is the issue, and your ability to be still, and scent free. Either way be careful to plan your hunts based on wind direction. Obviously do not hunt a stand if the wind is blowing in the direction that you expect the deer to come from. 30 feet is not necessary and creates sharp angles making your kill zone smaller.

From: Lee
03-Oct-08
Let the cover dicatate the height. If you have good concealment cover at 12 feet, hunt that high, if its 20 feet to the cover - than climb 20. You don't want to stick out like a sore thumb so as long as you make sure you are well hidden by limbs, etc. you should be fine. I've hunted as high as 30 feet (honest!) in a bow only property in VA where all the deer walked around looking up and have killed them as low as 12 to include my best buck - around 160". Lots of cover and he never knew what hit him.

Lee

From: live2hunt88
03-Oct-08
most of my stands are 10-15 feet in the air. i totally agree with iowa bound

From: B4LITE
03-Oct-08
I climb until the limbs of other tress are at my waist/feet level. Most of my bucks have been taken from 10-25 feet. In open pine/hardwood areas I'll go 30-35. Get to place were your outline is broken be surrounding trees / bushes. It's all about cover.

From: RD
03-Oct-08
Lee has it. Let the cover dictate the height. I start the season at 10-12' when there is good foliage and end up at 18-20' in Dec.

From: StillTryin
03-Oct-08
Without a fancy range finder how do you tell which pin to use? Is there a formula? I tried searching for other posts but came up empty.

From: bowriter
03-Oct-08
Match stand height to background cover and terrain. Some of mine are 8' off the ground some are 16. I have no stands over 18' high.

Treestand height is just like boot size. It has to fit.

From: Genesis
04-Oct-08
Hollows and depressions,I'll sit lower as to not get skylite.Cedars are almost a free pass,if they aren't moving around.

I rarely have to "skydog" as I typically don't like to hunt wide open hardwoods or pine.They are usually just "pretty" places to not see a deer.

From: Deer_slayer
14-Oct-08
Thanks for your thoughts

From: stxt2000
16-Oct-08
i let the area decide how high. bow hoist strap is 30' and 1 area i hunt it's all but out the whole way(at waist level). another area i'll hunt 15'(thick with small trees).

From: thesquid
16-Oct-08
No way to give an answer to this as the location etc. will tell how high you should be. I've killed good bucks at seven feet up and also did a number on bucks at thirty feet up. Watch the angle at high set-ups & get away from the trail at low ones. My nornal set-up is fifteen feet up and fifteen to eighteen feet out. Good Luck

From: Timbow
16-Oct-08
I generally climb higher as the leaves fall off. Early season I usually don't need to go much over 15'. By Dec I'm almost always over 20. Like most others have said, cover is the key.

From: Deer_slayer
03-Nov-08
Is 30 to high

03-Nov-08
16 feet is the best of both worlds

From: FXRScotty
03-Nov-08
I like around 20' but will go lower or higher if needed. Remember the higher you go the smaller the kill zone on a deer.

From: Owl
04-Nov-08
"Is 30 to high "

No. but the higher you go the smaller your optimal target and more difficult it is to maintain good shooting form.

From: howler
04-Nov-08
a few guys hit the nail on the head, it depends on the canopy, In some woods the canopy will allow a 20 foot treestand and in some it will allow a 10 foot treestand, If you are so high and can't get a shot account the canopy is in the way thats no good, its good to blend in with the canopy and still have somewhat clear shots

From: Sad Daddy
04-Nov-08
I like to be anywhere from 16-20 ft.

From: KSArcher
04-Nov-08
I agree with bowriter. I have stands that are 6 feet of the ground that are tucked back into a grove of cedars. NEVER been busted in it either. It's all a function of surrounding cover and terrain.

KSARcher~~~

From: kennelboy
04-Nov-08
Everyone has there own preference, for me my preference is 18 feet no higher no lower.

From: fishman
04-Nov-08
it depends on where you hunt. when i hunt in michigan and wisconsin i have to be a lot higher than in northern canada. the deer in the states are hunted a lot more from tree stands than in northern canada.

From: dgee
04-Nov-08
Give me your thoughts....me personally im floating right around 20-25 as i posted above but in other areas with rifle i like 30-35....the higher you go....the less likely it is for your scent to reach the ground....Im going from memory here so bear with me but the 1 older couple who had a hunting video out about the treelounge on moonshine island was it? They lit off a smoke bomb to represent scent and above a certain height your scent will not reach the ground. So for me personally during rifle, I am that high and I dont get as anal about my scent as much....Does this factor into your stands height placement at all? For bow it is definately a lot more tough with the steep angle

From: cubdriver
04-Nov-08
You definitely you should hang your stand 1/3 of the way up the tree...... If you prefer you may hang it 2/3 of the way down from the top of the tree....

From: DAVE EWERT
04-Nov-08
18-20 FEET FOR BOW & 15-16 FEET FOR GUN IS PERFECT. THAT IS WHERE YOUR PLATFORM SHOUND BE.

From: Deer_slayer
04-Nov-08
Is 40 feet to High?

From: jhelton
05-Nov-08
High enough to get into some cover. or High enough cover wont matter.

From: Bou'bound
04-Nov-17
depends on the cover provided by the tree. everyone is different

04-Nov-17
When leaves are on, I can get away very low. Like 12 feet low. I like that when I'm hunting with a trad bow. When the leaves fall, I need to be a minimum of 18-20 feet in mature timber. That can make trad bows tough but, no sweat for compounds.

It really depends on terrain, leaves, age of the timber stand, etc.... God Bless

From: ahunter55
04-Nov-17

ahunter55's embedded Photo
ahunter55's embedded Photo
terrain determines mine but I am most comfortable at 15/16' on my ladders. I have 2 this year at 12 foot & 3 at 15. I've killed Deer as low as 7 foot & 25 foot (in the S.). I do not like being over 16 foot & since I've killed a wide variety of biggame at 16 & under, well satisfied.

04-Nov-17
well I will give you a different perspective,,,, area is the hill country of SW Wisconsin, Crawford county,,,, last Friday my friend shot a 176 (green scored) 12 at a distance of 8 steps,,,,,, however he was not in a tree at all, but in a pit blind, that he dug out, and looks like a Jap pill box from the war..... being below the ground is highly effective.....

He also use to hunts the swamps and marshes of SE Wis, and many times only got up 6 feet, just enough to shoot over cattails...... He has shot a lot of big boys, since going to a pit blind,,,,,, So you see, height is nice, but not always necessary.......

Also lots of guys set up their stands wrong any way.... I prefer hang on for one reason, not obvious, and I use the tree for cover, putting most of he stand, towards the back of the tree, not like you see on TV, on non pressured deer....

Sometimes you hunt high some times low,,,, do not hunt for a tree, hunt for the best spot, and adjust accordingly

From: notme
04-Nov-17
How comfortable are you with heights? .i was a roofer/sider for 30yrs,worked at all heights but im not comfortable over 16' on a 12"x12 platform..as far as cover just put some branches in your straps.you dont need much

From: ahunter55
04-Nov-17

ahunter55's embedded Photo
ahunter55's embedded Photo
ground hunter-hunted pit blinds in S. Tx & loved em. Yep, background is the key.

From: Pigsticker
04-Nov-17
18 is perfect for me. Shot angle does not significantly reduce the kill zone, I normally stand to shoot so I don’t get busted. Cover does make a difference. Personally at no time would I be 6 to 8 feet off the ground. Just my preference. I never set on fields or food plots because I hunt the big woods. Deer come from any direction so at this hunt I feel comfortable to not get caught moving.

Pick a height that you are comfortable with make sure that you know why you are there. I used to hunt big piney woods where it was wide open so most my stands were between 20 to 25 feet.

From: Kodiak
04-Nov-17
At least 15' for me. Any lower and I begin to feel exposed.

From: JTV
04-Nov-17
without reading all the above replies, I will say it depends on the location... I am generally 18-21ft with my 4 LW sticks, the Lw Alpha II platform is usually within that height... there are a few locations I am a tad lower due to overhead cover/branches... when I'm that low, I feel my butt is dragging the ground, but it works for those locations....

From: JL
04-Nov-17
Wow....a 9 yr old thread finds new life.

I set my hang-ons at 21'. That is what I practice at too. I write 1' measurements (1' to 25') on my sticks so I know my hang-on is in the same approx height each time I hang it.

From: Franklin
04-Nov-17
Couple of things....pit blinds are not legal in all states for deer....one guy asked about "not having a fancy range finder"....you arrow flight is the horizontal distance whether uphill or downhill. With todays bows you can either measure to objects at the base of your tree or some do it in there stand. Just shoot the tree the same height as you not to the base of the tree. There might be a slight difference but it`s minimal with a modern compound.

From: TGbow
05-Nov-17
Guess it depends as others have mentioned, but for me, I know for sure 15 ft is as high as I'm gonna go.

Probably be between 10 and 12. I I have been ground hunter most of my life but this year I'm planning on using a treestand a lot.

05-Nov-17
I had no idea, that pit blinds were illegal in some states.... I wonder why? I can not hunt this fall due to surgery, so I have time for this computer,,,,, ha ha.... my friend is hunting one of my best spots this week...... We found a big blow down, last spring in the ideal spot, where we have taken bucks before...... mother nature gave us this gift...

last spring we dug it out, where the roots are exposed, and than covered it up well,,,,, it is a killer spot,,,,,, gets a little wet at times , but so far, he has had deer go by as close at 10 feet, never know he is in there.......

once he went to pit blind hunting, he left his recurve and went to a short compound, for obvious reasons,,,,,,,

From: Arrowhead
05-Nov-17
A lot of opinions on tree stand heights. If I'm hunting from a tree stand I get as high as I feel I need to in order to get a good shot on a deer. My rope is only 25 feet long so that would be my limit although I have inched a foot or two higher than that. I have shot deer 30 ft. high and I have shot deer only five feet high. Obviously you can hunt from the ground as well.

From: Cheetah8799
05-Nov-17
I place my stand at 12' generally. My stand always goes in and out of the woods with me.

From: JTV
05-Nov-17
12' ??... damn, I'd feel my ass would be on the ground at that low height ..

05-Nov-17
JTV depends on terrain you hunt,,,, I shot a beauty of a buck, one LW stick in a small sapling, in the crap hole.... Oh yeah by the way, most guys on this public piece, were out of the wet stuff, and in the hardwoods, so they could get up high,,,,, doesn't do much good, if that is not where the big boys go till after dark........

From: Greg Kush
05-Nov-17
As others have said, there isn't a one size fits all answer. In some cases, going higher makes you less likely to get busted, but at other times you can go so high that you put yourself above the available cover (like adjacent shorter trees) and you become easier to spot. Here's a video from last week. The platform I am on in this big bushy cedar tree is only about 7 feet off the ground. I obviously didn't need to be any higher. Near the end of the clip, I switch over to GoPro footage since I had it mounted on the decoy's head. Hell, I had a hard time picking myself out in that tree even though I knew exactly where I was located!

From: Brian M.
05-Nov-17
I like 14-16, I've gone as high as 24-ish. I placed one today that I didn't need any steps for. About 18"....maybe. lol. It's at the top of a gully where a stream runs through below. With a couple dead fall trees in front and some strategically placed hemlocks, I'm hoping it's a good....just off the ground...ground blind.

From: Sand man
26-Nov-19
I like a 20’ climbing stick with the stand platform at the next to the highest step. Using a lifeline I can then stand on the very top, push my “stop knot” up above me and step down onto the stand with a taunt harness. I then can adjust the length to give just enough slack to sit. I truly believe if you’re going to have a stand “issue” it will be at the point your full weight first hits it. Also I orientate the loops I would “hang from” on the step / ladder side. If dangling I want to be able to recover...

From: Overland
26-Nov-19
Interesting thread revival. In the more than a decade since this was posted nothing has changed. Background cover means a tremendous amount, whether that is available at 10 feet or 35 feet. Keep in mind that as you go higher the kill zone gets smaller due to angle. I've killed a deer with a bow from a fairly ridiculous height and will not repeat it. While I did recover the deer the shot was not ideal.

With a rifle, often height can be a significant advantage if you have an area where getting high allows you to see more territory. I have a rifle stand that is higher than most trees. I'm very comfortable at height and there's something special about being so high up that no animal other than a bird will notice you.

From: Paul@thefort
26-Nov-19

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
killed this elk from treestand only 8 ft off the ground. good cover and background
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
killed this elk from treestand only 8 ft off the ground. good cover and background
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
killed this buck from the below tree stand, just 14 ft up. Good background also.
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
killed this buck from the below tree stand, just 14 ft up. Good background also.
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
shot was almost straight down from stand. Again, good back ground
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
shot was almost straight down from stand. Again, good back ground
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
killed a good coues deer buck from this tree stand, ie, 12 ft up. Again, good back ground. All available trees are not suitable so sometimes, one needs to get higher and then lower works also.
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
killed a good coues deer buck from this tree stand, ie, 12 ft up. Again, good back ground. All available trees are not suitable so sometimes, one needs to get higher and then lower works also.

26-Nov-19
Excellent input Paul...spot on....

From: timex
27-Nov-19
10 to 25 depends lots of holly trees in some places I hunt & soon as you get into the canopy viability goes way down & then I also hunt on the salt marsh & it's mostly white pines & 25' is not unusual. I mostly use a climber now but when I used a hang on & screw in steps I looked for trees with cover more so than height iv killed a lot of deer between 10 & 15' from hang on stands with good cover big cedar trees would be a great example

From: bwhntr
27-Nov-19

bwhntr's embedded Photo
bwhntr's embedded Photo
I've killed several out of this set-up. This year's deer was on the other side of that small cedar in the middle of the picture some 7 steps from my tree. You have to look closely to see the treestand straps. Some places just lend themselves to low placement, because as others have stated, background is key. Two deer were killed from this set this year.

From: itshot
27-Nov-19
i use a tape measure regardless of tree or location, 114" (or 11ft 4in, same thing)

low enough that you don't need a pull up rope or harness, high enough that nothing can smell the hockey tape or new boots

From: Pop-r
27-Nov-19
Itshot I wouldn't want you using your tape for me. Lol

From: GF
27-Nov-19
I’m partial to setting up at the same height every time… Usually around 10 feet. This has proven to be sufficient to keep me out of their line of sight, and it makes it a lot easier to hit your target every time when the angles are about the same.

I don’t like to be too high, because of the issue others have mentioned with it shrinking your target. With a rifle it doesn’t matter so much, but when bowhunting it’s a much bigger deal… I find I don’t get picked off too often as long as I am set up such that I’m either on the backside of a tree, or they are coming straight at me such that I have no silhouette. It really does help to have nice, thick trees to set up in, of course!

From: Bloodtrail
27-Nov-19
Itshot, there’s no way you’re a carpenter.....or do anything with math related activities. Lol ;)

From: Two Feathers
27-Nov-19
^^^x2^^^ lol

From: Mailman
27-Nov-19
I prefer a groundblind that is brushed in really well. I have found that I can relax and sit longer if concealed on the ground. The view is limited, but the advantages out weigh the disadvanteges. I realize that a ground blind is a more permanent set up where as climbing stands and ladder stands are always being moved. It just came to me that the thread is about tree stand height, not ground blinds. Oh well....

From: 1boonr
28-Nov-19
My ideal height for a treestand is whatever I decide in a certain tree. You have to decide for yourself what is the ideal height. Some people on here will tell you to stay low because your target will be bigger. That may be true but if you hunt too low for the tree you picked you will never have a target. If your really having trouble with this find a guy in your area that consistently has the type of results you want and ask him to help you.

From: Buffalo1
28-Nov-19
No right, wrong or exact answer. Depends on topography and background cover.

I have notice a correlation though- the older I age, the lower I hunt to the ground.

From: fran
28-Nov-19
Right there with you Buffalo1.

From: DonVathome
28-Nov-19
Depends on cover. Big open woods straight trunk educated deer will easily pick you out at 25 feet. Higher is worse for shot angle, bone and smaller vital area.

Climbing into a fork with branches around at 18 feet is my favorite. I have hung h big dead branches to break up my outline.

I have taken over 100 deer from a tree stand with a bow. Not bragging just saying I have tried a lot and seen a lot.

Also I never sit or have a seat. I stand right next to the tree. Bear hug tree to climb with a homemade stand a little bigger than my boots.

I also hang homemade leaves on my bow and clothes. Many times a quick breeze ruffles my leaves and sets a wary white tails at ease.

From: BOHUNTER09
28-Nov-19
Donv. I’m not that tough anymore. I do like a folding seat so I’m close to the tree. My stands are 15-20 feet depending on background and cover. I really like a multi trunked tree.

From: Hawkeye
28-Nov-19
Don--I don't think I was EVER that tough! Lol! Pretty cool way to hunt though. I agree on the height=best cover being the answer.

I always look at the area and wonder if a quick glance would make out my stand or if Id have to study it. If I can see it easy..Even if it's the perfect place...It's a no go. Think of how many times things catch your eye that are out of place at home or in public....I think the same way when hanging stands.

Think like a deer in the sense of how tough is it to make out the stand/hunter with a quick glance and then hunt the right winds.

Rarely am I above 20 feet.

From: dnovo
28-Nov-19
There’s no one ideal height. Every stand is a little bit different. I have one set now that is about 18’. I have several others from 10’ to 15’. I pick the height depending on cover, terrain.

  • Sitka Gear