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By: Robert Janis

Selecting a Tree Stand

Next time you go out deer hunting, take a good look around. What do you see? Lots of trees, right? Suppose you take advantage of the height of one of those trees in order to bag yourself a whitetail. Many hunters prefer the overhead shot, and they achieve it by shooting from a tree stand. It doesn't matter if you are using a firearm or a bow and arrow--you can use a tree stand. Also, there are several different styles or models that accommodate say just you, or one or two of your buddies.

THE ADJUSTER™ MAGNUM is a self-leveling stand that can be used even on bell-shaped, oval, or odd-shaped trees. As you climb, simply adjust the platforms to the taper of the tree. Never again will you have to climb down and search for another tree because your platforms are not level and safe.
THE ADJUSTER™ MAGNUM is a self-leveling stand that can be used even on bell-shaped, oval, or odd-shaped trees. As you climb, simply adjust the platforms to the taper of the tree. Never again will you have to climb down and search for another tree because your platforms are not level and safe.

In selecting a tree stand you may want to keep a few things in mind. First, you may have to carry the stand some distance from where you left your ATV to the tree you intend to use to shoot your prey. Some tree stands are heavy or fold up into awkward shapes or are just plain cumbersome. So, as you are selecting your stand, pick them up and lug them around the store to make certain that you can handle the one you select. Second, making noise is the cardinal sin for a hunter. You want things to be perfectly quiet so the deer doesn't get spooked. So, keep in mind that you will be carrying the stand to the tree, unfolding or opening the stand in some manner, climbing the stand up a tree and locking the stand in place on the tree. You want to be certain that all of that work is achieved without noise or at least with the minimum amount of noise. Third, the stand will have to be secured to the trunk of the tree. So, you are going to want to be certain that it is sturdy when you tie it to or lock it onto the tree. Different styles of frames or apparatus are used on the various stands. So, you want to check that out at the store. What frame or apparatus do you feel provides the most secure hold on the tree? Are you certain that you can properly lock the stand in place using the apparatus available? Do you find the apparatus easy to use? And, does the apparatus do the task of securing the stand to the tree quietly? Is it easy to disassemble when the time comes to end the hunt? Fourth, what size or circumference of a tree will the stand fit? Since the stand is secured around or onto the trunk of the tree, you want to be certain that the stand will fit properly around the circumference of the trunk. Fifth, does the design allow you to set up the stand in the position that you find most comfortable in relation to the tree? There are stands that set up with your back, front, or side to the tree, and there are stands that allow for all three positions. Sixth, are there accessories you may want that can be used with the tree stand you buy? Some companies that manufacture tree stands also offer accessories as options designed to enhance the use of the stand. For example, you might be able to buy a gun or bow holder, cushions for the chair, etc.

What follows is a list of actual tree stands that are available for purchase. I discovered these products while visiting various websites as I researched this story. There are some sites that provide actual ratings of the products by hunters who have used them. I have selected for this list only tree stands that have been rated as five-star units. Where possible, I will quote a hunter's reason for rating a particular stand the way he did.

The Amacker Adjuster™ Magnum Tree Stand. According to the manufacturer of this stand, it is the "first" and "only" automatic adjusting climbing tree stand on the market. It does not have manual cranks or knobs like other stands do. Also, you don't have to bend down to the bottom platform to level it. You adjust the stand--both top and bottom--from the same position on the platform. Moreover, it is self leveling. That means that the shape of the tree does not limit its use. It works on bell-shaped, oval, or odd-shaped trees, the manufacturer asserts. To attach to the tree, you simply adjust the platform to the taper of the tree as you climb it up. The stand also has a lot of leg room and the large platform can hold a maximum 400 pounds, says the manufacturer. It is supposed to be the first stand that allows you to step easily into it when it is flat on the ground and level it as you climb it up the tree. When you reach the desired height from which you want to shoot, you simply level the stand in place. To level, you disengage the adjustment pins that appear on each side of the platform, lift, and then level. If you hunt in an area that has laws against using a stand that actually penetrates the trunk of the tree, Amacker offers rubber guards that go on the back blades as an accessory.

Hunter Rated at: five stars. Hunters like its all-welded joints which eliminate noise, its heavy duty mesh no-slip platform, adjustable camouflage sling seat and its solid square stock construction that makes it easier to attach to trees. They also note that the front bar is adjustable for better leg room.

Grandstand® Baby Grand Fixed Position Tree Stand. This tree stand includes high quality, welded aluminum construction which assures a minimum amount of noise, says the manufacturer. It also features slatted, Sure-Grip platforms with large ribbed traction treads for sure footing and a contoured design with a 5-point contact system so that it attaches to trees consistently, quickly, and quietly. At the end of the hunt, it folds flat for easy packing. A locking cam over buckle-and-strap hanging system is used to secure the stand to the tree. A T-Screw is also part of the apparatus and is used as a stabilizer to assure a fixed position. The stand also includes a Realtree Hardwoods® HD™ camouflaged seat. and it is finished in a non-glare gray powder-coat. The stand comes with a safety DVD and 4-point, full body safety harness. The large bench seat is 22-inches high and the bench portion measures 19-inches by 12-inches by 2-inches. The backrest is 12-inches by 19-inches by 2-inches.

Hunter Rated at: Five Stars. Hunters like the big and comfortable seat and plenty of room on the platform to adjust your feet when shooting.

The Equalizer Treestand
The Equalizer Treestand

Magnum Treestand
The Magnum Treestand

Equalizer Treestand. This tree stand has a number of exclusive features that assure a stable, sturdy attachment to the tree as well as quiet performance. A Geared Leveling System allows the user to safely adjust the stand in the tree. A Cable Block and Acme Threaded Rod includes a handle that allows the user to get 12-inches of cable adjustment as the cable block rides up and down the aluminum acme threaded rod. The Cable Block Assembly is double locking and embedded within the cable block and the SwiftLoc Terminal is double locking for security. The Positive Locking System features tie lines that connect the seat and foot climbers when climbing and locks the seat and foot climber into the tree as if it were nailed in. To assure the attachment, there are two offset tandem blades that reach farther around the tree and the dual blades are offset with the top blade a quarter inch longer than the bottom blade for a strong, secure grip. The frame is made of welded aircraft grade aluminum to assure stability and quiet, and the foot climber has been load tested to 1,000 pounds. SwiftLoc Cable Silencers eliminate any cable noise when climbing or backpacking. Finally, a three-way moveable seat cushion allows you to sit facing the tree, back to tree, or in the leaning post position. It also comes with a 40-minute instructional DVD and instruction book. Optional accessories include an adjustable safety bar with back cushion, cross mount, or side mount gun racks for the adjustable safety bar, bow holder for the seat climber frame or for the adjustable safety bar, drink holder for the adjustable safety bar, foot rest, and frame mount shooting rest.

Hunter Rated at: Five Stars. Hunters like the strength of this tree stand. One hunter claims to have seen five men stand on one at the same time and it held. They also like the lightweight of only 19.5 pounds. They claim that it will fit any tree from 28-inches in diameter. It can be adjusted while climbing up a tree up to 12-inches and it is compact for backpacking. Hunters say that there are no parts that stick up above your head that could hit branches and none hanging low that could hit your calves. It does not have pins to drop off when you attach the cable and the cable drops and locks into place. The seat can be adjusted into three positions--facing the tree, back to tree, or standing with back to tree with seat at 45 degree angle.

SuperMag Original Tree Stand. This stand has a variety of features to assure a safe and secure attachment to the tree, quiet performance, and versatility in adjustment. The removable seat piece allows you to sit facing the tree with back rest or away from the tree with a gun rest. You can drop the back rest out of the way whenever you want and use a 3/4 seat position favored by bow hunters. The back rest and shooting rail can be adjusted vertically or horizontally allowing you to find your optimum comfort zone when you shoot. The apparatus features all welded arms and climbing teeth to keep the stand solidly anchored to the tree as you climb and sit on the stand. The stand also includes two rope ratchets which you can use in any manner you wish to assure a secure anchor. You can, for example, use one rope to secure the seat piece to the tree. To assure a quiet performance, the stand has nylon silencers attached to both the foot and seat pieces. Four speed twist knobs are used to lock the stand into place as you climb the tree. Other tree stands use hitch pins that can rattle during the assembly process.

 Grand Slam Extreme Bowhunter by API Outdoors
Grand Slam Extreme Bowhunter by API Outdoors

Brutus Pro Series Treestands. Brutus offers four Pro Series Tree stands--the Brutus Pro, Brutus Pro Staff, Brutus Pro Staff Elite, and the Brutus Pro Staff Aluminum. All Brutus Tree stands are certified by the Treestand Manufacturers' Association (TMA) and follow stringent guidelines in the manufacturing of the products. Stands that receive a TMA certification have been weight tested twice to assure that they qualify under their stated weight capacity. The stands also go through a repetitive load test that can include up to 10,000 cycles. The Pro Series Brutus Tree stands include a Pro Collar Mount that allows for a complete stand and the addition of an optional collar mount to allow for multiple hanging locations. The stands also include platform support chains and leveling systems which bolt to the platform and assure that the chains do not crimp and the chains also act as a platform leveling system. The Pro Series Tree stands also allow for the tree angles. The Collar Mount has multiple mounting holes to slide the frame in or out depending on the angle of the tree. Moreover, all Pro Series stands have a seat height adjustment and ladder receivers at the bottom of the platform to add an optional 16-foot Conversion Ladder.

Summit Broadhead BackPacker SS Treestand. This stand has an overall size of 20-inches wide by 36-inches long and a platform area of 20-inches wide and 28-3/4-inches long. It weighs 21 pounds and can be used on trees that are 8-inches to 20-inches in circumference. Weight limit is 300 pounds. It is aluminum constructed, with frame pivots and folds down to a flat package for backpacking. It features a tethered knob which works quietly to secure the stand, two piece seat buckles for height adjustment and quick seat removal, thick padded arm rests and front bar. Complete package includes four point safety harness, RapidClimb stirrups, all necessary padding, hardware, ropes and straps.

Hunter Rated at: Five Stars. Hunters like its sturdiness, comfort and it's quiet. They also like the well- made construction.


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