There’s something about walking away from a well-placed tree stand that gives a hunter a unique sense of satisfaction. It’s even better for bow hunters. Because they get the first shot at taking a trophy buck during deer season, they’re also often the first to hang their tree stands. Those hunting on public land aside, bow hunters with hunting privileges typically choose to set up hang-on tree stands, also commonly known as “sets,” and there are a number of good reasons why.
While climbing stands are a great way to approach new areas (and hunt on public land), hang-on tree stands give you the versatility to hang your stand on virtually any type of tree, just the way that you want it. And since the best trees for hang-on stands may not be as ideal for ladder tree stands or climbers, hang-ons offer bow hunters the ultimate foundation for ambushing whitetail deer, across the board. Bow hunters also benefit greatly from not having to pack and unpack a stand on every trip.
First thing’s first. Tree stands should be checked for safety prior to the start of the season. Always wear a hunting safety harness, such as Summit’s Seat-o-the-Pants Harness.
Bring a friend
When hanging your sets, it's always best to bring someone with you. A buddy can help carry the work load and help you if you were to fall or need assistance. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your hunting location(s) with this person, you might want to pick a friend you trust. If you are unable to bring anyone along, make sure that someone knows where you are and what you're doing.
It has been said that “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail,” and this couldn’t be truer than when it comes to hanging tree stands. The amount of gear you’ll be able to bring will be determined by the accessibility of your hunting spot, and there’s a seemingly endless list of things to remember before heading out. So make a list and check it twice—start with the basics and then add on all the tools that make the job easier.
You should also have a plan of attack. Presumably, countless hours have gone into choosing the location of your stand; scouting has revealed abundant signs of deer along well-traveled paths, and your game camera pictures have shown shooter bucks in the area. Now, location, wind direction and accessibility will put your confidence to the test and be critical to the success of your stand location. Choose a site you can enter and exit efficiently, and always play the wind.
Pick the Perfect Tree
When picking a tree, choose a healthy one that is at least as big as your body. This will break up your silhouette and maintain optimal concealment. Depending on the available cover, Hang-On treestands should be mounted between 15 and 20 feet. Going beyond 20 feet can start to affect archery shots. Advancements in tree steps, like Bucksteps, can also prove useful, giving hunters the ability to creatively and quickly get into trees with a lot of cover.
Know your Poisonous Plants
There is nothing worse than getting covered in Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, or Sumac after a long weekend of hanging stands. Before heading out just “Google it” and study the pictures so that you know what plants you're dealing with. It is also a good idea to know what to do if you come in contact with these unwelcomed plants.
Hanging tree stands in the summertime is hard work. Bring water and drink it! Staying hydrated will keep you alert and focused, which in turn affects your safety, decision-making and overall performance.
Since you can get these stands into places that other stands simply will not go, they offer the perfect, concealable option for a range of bow hunting situations. With these helpful yet simple tips in mind, you, the dedicated deer hunter, will be a step ahead in preparing for the upcoming hunting season.
If a Hang-On setup isn't the best option for your hunting situation be sure to check out our Treestand Buyers Guide.