The Difference Between Climbing, Hang-on, and Ladder Tree Stands - Catch Them Easy

The Difference Between Climbing, Hang-on, and Ladder Tree Stands

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Trees for Stands

When it comes to tree stands for hunting your favorite game species whether it be Whitetail Deer, Feral Hogs, Black Bear or some other species, every hunter seems to have their own preference for the type of tree stand they prefer to hunt out of. However, the fact is that all stands have both advantages and disadvantages that cause hunters to choose one type of tree stand over another. For instance, climbing tree stands are far more easily moved from location to location throughout the season, and they enable the hunter to take their stand with them after a day’s hunt in order to prevent theft. Whereas, hang-on tree stands are significantly lighter than climbing ​models are but, they also require a hunter to carry either a set of screw-in tree steps or a strap-on, climbing stick in order to be able to hang the stand in a chosen location. On the other hand, ladder stands tend to weigh more than either hang-on or climbing ​models and, they are rather bulky to transport into and out of the woods but, they are undoubtedly the easiest type of stand in the trees to get into and out of. So, which type of tree stand it is the right choice for you?

Climbing Tree Stand

Well, the answer to that question depends on several factors such as where and how you hunt as well as your personal preference. For instance, climbing stands require that your chosen hunting area has a selection of relatively straight trees with no limbs below your desired height or, limbs small enough that you can easily trim them off adjacent to the tree’s trunk in order to enable you to climb your chosen tree or trees. Also, the trees in your chosen hunting area need to be small enough that they fit inside the support arms of your ​climber stand but, at the same time, are large enough to support your weight.

Furthermore, climbing stands tend to make a significant amount of noise when climbing up and down a tree and thus, using a climbing tree stand can alert the game you are hunting to your presence as well as your location. However, due to their ability to climb up and down trees with relative ease, they are often the best choice for hunters who hunt like to move from location to location during the course of the season as well as for hunter who hunt on public land because they enable the hunter to easily take their stand with them at the end of the day and thus, prevent theft.


On the other hand, many hunters have a distinct preference for hang-on tree stands over climbing stands because they are often significantly lighter than hang-on stands and thus, they are far easier to carry into and out of the woods. Once they are hung in a chosen location, they are much quieter to climb into and out of again. In addition, because they are not designed to enable a hunter to climb up and down a tree while sitting in the stand, they do not require relatively straight trees and/or trees with few or no limbs below the desired height or, trees with a specific diameter and thus, they can be placed in a far wider range of tree sizes and types. ​Because they do not require a hunter to trim any limbs that might interfere with climbing a tree while sitting in the stand, they enable a hunter to choose trees with limbs that are relatively close to the ground which can provide cover during months when the leaves are still on the limbs. But, just like climbing tree stands, hang-on stands also have their disadvantages. For instance, because hang-on stands lack the ability to climb a tree, they require a hunter to use a strap-on climbing stick or a set of screw-in tree steps to reach their desired height.

​While it is a relatively simple matter to assemble and strap a climbing stick to the side of a tree, climbing sticks also add both extra bulk and extra weight which tends to negate the relatively light weight of hang-on stands. On the other hand though, while screw-in tree steps are very compact to carry and are generally significantly lighter than climbing sticks are, they also require a significant amount of work to screw each step into the side of a tree while hanging in mid-air which makes some hunters distinctly uncomfortable. Then, there is the issue of having to climb up the side of a tree while carrying the stand and then, having to cling on to the side of the tree while maneuvering the stand into position and then fastening the stand to the tree facing your desired direction. But, by removing your climbing stick or, the bottom three or four steps when you exit your stand each day, you also prevent other hunters from using your stand when you are not occupying it as well as denying tree stand thieves easy access to it.


​Due to the disadvantages presented by both climbing and hang-on tree stands, some hunters have a distinct preference for ladder stands instead. But, as noted above, ladder stands are both the most bulky of the three and, they are generally the heaviest. Thus, they are the most difficult to transport into and out of the woods. Plus, due to the fact that they have a ladder that extends from the ground to the stand’s platform, they are the most visible type of stand to your chosen game species. ​They generally need to be placed in the woods at your chosen location well before the beginning of the hunting season in order to provide game with plenty of time to become used to them being there.

However, due to their design, they are far easier to attach to your chosen tree than hang-on stands are and, they also do not require that your chosen tree be either relatively straight or free of limbs below your desired height. ​Once they are assembled and affixed to your chosen tree, they are both very easy and very quiet to climb into and out of and thus, for this reason, many hunters prefer ladder stands over climbing tree stands or hang-on tree stands. But, due to their ​stationery design, they are often easily spotted by other hunters and thus, you may very well arrive at your stand one day to find another hunter occupying your stand or, you may discover that it has disappeared altogether and thus, ladder stands are best reserved for hunting on private property that you are certain that no other hunters have access to.

​Final Word on Tree Stands

​As you can see, each type of tree stand has both advantages and disadvantages which cause hunters to choose one type of stand over the others. Therefore, when choosing a tree stand, each hunter much carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of each tree stand type such as overall weight and ease of transport as well as the level of difficulty in positioning the stand in a desired location in addition to their vulnerability to theft and then make their choice accordingly. ​Choosing the right ​stand in the trees for you is very much a matter of personal choice and how you intend to hunt.