Contributors to this thread:
Fixed, climber, ladder or popup tent?
I have a bunch of all of the above, 3 climbers, 7 tents, 6 ladders, and 8 fixed.. As I get fatter and older (turned 55 this year) I find more enjoyment from ladders and tents than from monkey climbing into fixed stands or using climbers. I now seem to move more ladders and set up more tents than ever before.. because I hate pulling down fixed stands after the season...
My question is - what is your most common stand for deer hunting now?
Lone Wolf Assault hand climber or sitting in a folding stool on the ground using natural cover. I'm 51 and physically fit so climbing isn't a problem.
years ago when i bow hunted more, i used to buy a 15 foot ladder stand from cabela's. this time of year. they would often be on sale for $100. i do not recall the name.
i had a few of them and preferred them over the climber or hang on because they felt more sturdy, safer, and were easier to get in and out of. i seldom stayed in a tree stand for more than a few hours at a time.
i would often leave them against the tree if it were legal or i had permission to do so, or hide them nearby. they were easy to set-up and if someone stole them, i was never out a bunch of money. fortunately, i never had one stolen.
the only time i hunted out of a pop-up blind was for antelope. they were good for that but i doubt i would use them for deer or elk.
Getting in and out easily and silently is one reason I like ladders..
I'll be 61 on 1/1/2024 and I'm a hang and hunt public land hunter 90% of the time. So I have fixed stands and sticks. I will do it this way and exercise and stretch to stay fit to be able to do it that way as long as I possibly can. I absolutely hate ladder stands. In my experience they are the noisiest contraptions on the planet. Pop ups are not an option for me. Deer are wary of a newly popped up blind. They may work in SD where I hunt.
Saddle or climber on public. Ladders and hang ons for private. Also sometimes sit on a chair wearing a leafy suit on public.
Various hang on portables (belt, strap and chain). Tried screw-in, strap on steps, strap on sticks, now leg irons (Binghams or Geckos). Leg irons are the most versatile and quiet, able to get around most forks in the tree, branches ,etc. if you use two lineman's belts, ropes. Always clipped in once I leave the ground with self closing, self-locking carabiners. More expensive but I need one-handed operation. Now getting to the point where the climbing is getting much harder, looking for a good set of climbing sicks that are light, don't clang and don't shift. The new carbon ones seem to squeak when load is applied, expensive and if tabs broken are worthless. 12 yards what kind are you using?
I feel like ladder stands that get hunted a lot, become known areas of hunter concentration for deer. This is why i'm using hang on's more now and may get a saddle in the not too distant future. I dislike blinds significantly as I feel they really limit my feeling of being "in nature". That can be a good thing if the weather is bad but I really only use them bowhunting turkeys.
Saddle. I've not used my climber in about 3 years, maybe 4... Nor any of my fixed in about as long or longer... And my good old Double Bull Matrix hasnt been used other than my kids playing in it in the yard in about 8 years...
saddle 90% of the time. Hang on 10% of the time.
I have "strategically" placed 10 or 11 15' ladder stands in oak flats, draws, and funnels where I hunt. Other than replacing the ratchet straps and maybe some light trimming every year they're a piece of cake to hunt out of. I used a some cable and cheap locks around the seat and tree to help deter any thief's. Luckily I'm still in decent shape at 63 but I feel safer using these as opposed to tree steps and hang ons. I have a couple of 13' pack and stacks that I used if I need to be mobile. For me, ladder stands work the best.
I mostly hunt in ladder stands, but still use my hang on a dozen or more times per year.
I'm 67 and in good shape. I use ladder stands nearly 100 percent of the time. Occasionally I'll use my Summit Viper.
I prefer the ladder. It's easy to climb up, it's quiet, and it's comfortable. And I sometimes even manage to kill a deer out of them.
I have a bunch of permanent stands that I’ve built on my property, that I access from ladder/climbing sticks. Also have several hang-ons that I put up each year, as well. I’m not a huge fan of ladder stands, due to the difficulty of making them quiet enough for my taste, but at almost 63, I’m transitioning over to them more and more every year. They are much easier to get into than than my hang-ons anymore. Also utilize blinds some, but don’t really like to hunt whitetails out of them. IMO, you lose some of the experience of the hunt a little, due to them limiting your view, sounds, etc. In certain spots, they’re about the only option.
15 foot ladders for many years.
This year at 71 I set 15 new fixed stands with some sort of climbing stick and life lines. I probably have about 30 up with one ladder stand that I have never sat in. Obviously, I prefer the fixed stands. I do have two blinds up that I let others hunt if I do not feel comfortable having them climb into my stands.
62 and still using a LW climber.
Saddle platform or small hang ons. Wear my saddle in either.
100% ladder stands for the last 20 years
Ladder stands only anymore for me. They can be noisy, but they are comfortable and I feel more secure in them. Starting using a life line with rock climbing harness this year. Sold my last climber last year and I’ll be ok if I never do that again. I have a grain wagon blind I hunt out of in bad weather during gun season.
Saddle and one stick. Haven’t been in any other stand type in three years. Except when I help a friend or dad hang a lock on or ladder.
I don’t see ever going back.
Ladders seem to be leading this poll for 'mature' hunters anyway... Must say I am surprised so few guys hunt of popup tents - we used them a lot here in Quebec for turkeys, moose and yes, for deer, and apparently many (some?) black bear outfitters use them also to avoid clients climbing...
62 and still using a LW climber.
"Ladders seem to be leading this poll for 'mature' hunters anyway"... I was thinking the same thing. For those who think ladder stands are noisy, it may have to do with the set up as opposed the stand itself (don't ask me how I know).
Can’t stand sitting in a ground blind, and I walk quite a ways so ladders are out. I still love being in a hang-on and watch the woods around me like I’m not there….hopefully:)! Just for whitetail though. Unfortunately a blind is the best way to kill a turkey, but I’ll go without for that sometimes also.
72 years old. 90% ladder stands, an a couple of box blinds. I like the safety of the ladder stand
i have and have used them all but prefer the ladders. i especially like the roominess of the two person ladders. I use them for bow...gun...and ml. the only time i really use the climber is if im hunting public...or the deer seem to want to skirt around the ladder stands. :)
On private almost exclusively ladder stands public mostly my climber.
I'm not far behind you at 50. If I'm in a tree now it's a ladder stand, otherwise I hunt from the ground quite a bit (natural, no pop-ups). I find ladder stands easy to carry a long distance. Put them together, find their balance point, set it on my shoulders and walk. This is open pasture ground, not forest.
Almost always fixed stands. Will pull out the lightweight and sticks when necessary but not often.
Fixed tree stands for me, with some ground blind. I’m almost 73 yo. I’ve hunted in a few ladders but every one was noisy.
Hang ons and some type of climbing sticks/ladder for the wife and me. We still do pretty well getting up and down for 68 and 65 years old. All of our sets have lifelines from the ground up. We own two pop up blinds but typically only set one up. That may change as time goes on. I never really liked the few ladder stands I've hunted out of over the years.
I agree with KY Eyebow. I was sitting in a river bottom in SD where we had set up ladder stands at different locations. It is a fairly narrow wooded corridor. The wind wasn't right for a ladder, so I set up my fixed stand in the woods across from the ladder. A group of five does came through and went right under me and as they headed to the other side of the woods where the ladder was, the lead doe scrutinized that ladder stand for five minutes before they wandered through. That showed me a lot. IMO, that ladder might be ok during the rut when bucks throw caution to the wind, but when they are naturally moving through the woods, it would be very difficult to shoot a deer out of that ladder stand.
62 For whitetail Fixed stands lower than 20 yrs ago Climber Ground with leafy camo Also can't stand being in a blind
I'm 65 (a few weeks from 66) and I have 15 or so ladder stands, but also still use climbers and hang ons with sticks...the latter I truly despise but sometimes you need to use them.
I'm never truly comfortable in a cheap ladder stand. I use the 15' ladders so they are a bit low for late season hunting; and shooting a recurve out of them is a bit restricted. My wrinkle in solving all that is to use the cheap ladder as 'steps' and just hanging a comfortable hang on stand to the side off the top seating (metal top only) platform. I just step from the seat platform to the stand which gets me another foot or two in height. I will always use a lifeline as well for extra security. Looks odd but I've done it this way for years. I started doing it this way for an easy/safe way for my young son to get in a tree...and just kept doing it when he got older.
Never got climbers
50/50 ladder and lock on. I now have the trees for the lock ons pre set with screw in steps so set up is easy and just an installation and not a big process
I used to love those Sky Hook tree steps. You screwed in the the lag bolts and could remove some or all the steps when you finished your hunt. It took just a second to put them back on. A lock and a cable around the hang on and your stand was somewhat safe from theft. They were pretty popular 20 years ago. I still have a bunch somewhere.
As someone who hunts mostly state land, climber is my go to. It has to be. I’ve gotten very good at it. And feel 100% safe and confident in it.
I tried a saddle this year too. Nope, just too many variables that are brought to light when a deer is close that won’t allow a shot. But it’s sexy. Lol
On private land I use a Hawk hang on with four steps for quietness and ease of sneaking in and setting up without much risk of it getting stolen.
Blood, I agree with you. Not wanting to debate either. But, I’ve never experienced a situation in couldn’t shoot in a saddle. And, I hunt with a longbow as much as a compound. I’ve killed some deer with both as well. In equal shots, I’d never killed setting a conventional lock on. Just me.
You can pm me if you’d like. Maybe I can help you.
I’m not trying to be over bearing. But, I hunt a lot like you. On public ground and deep at that. These saddles have changed the game for me. And, I find them as comfortable as any other.
Comments have been helpful! For ladder users - leave the stands out all year, until rust does them in or set up and pick up annually? I tend to leave mine in - figure at 100$ apiece if they last 5 years still fine by me.. I do get some in deep (private land) so taking them out would be no fun!
I know one of the most successful guys in Massachusetts (successful to the point that he’s upset some of the less-successful) uses exclusively ladder stands. And many of them. The wrinkle is that unlike most ladder stands which stay in one place for years and years, he moves his stands almost every year.