HIGH AND MIGHTY

Outdoor Life - - HUNTING - by WILL BRANT­LEY

Seven sim­ple hacks to make your climb­ing stand setup dead­lier than it’s ever been

IN THE RIGHT

area, noth­ing beats a climb­ing stand for mo­bile bowhunt­ing. You can be set­tled in and hunting in a third of the time—and with less noise—than it takes to hang a lock-on. Though they’re con­sid­ered white­tail tools, climbers work over elk wal­lows and bear baits too. But they come with their own set of chal­lenges—the big­gest be­ing that they won’t work in ev­ery tree. Here’s how to make your climber setup per­fectly ef­fi­cient.

PICK A TRUNK

You need a tall, straight tree with enough girth to sup­port you. The stan­dard ad­vice is a shoul­der­width trunk. Rough-barked trees—pignut, maple, pine, oak—pro­vide the most se­cure bite. Avoid smooth, slick species like beech and sycamore.

COVER UP

I like the lower plat­form of my stand to be 18 feet high, min­i­mum. I love to climb trees with leafy saplings grow­ing near the base too, and with a big fork above where I’ll sit. This pro­vides cover over­head and un­der­neath.

SET THE STAND

Trees are wider at the bot­tom than the top. I set the lower plat­form so it an­gles up at the base of the trunk but lev­els out up top. (It takes prac­tice to get this right; err on the side of too tight.) The up­per por­tion can be looser for eas­ier climb­ing, then tight­ened when you’re set­tling in. Al­ways strap the two pieces of the stand to­gether.

HANG OUT

A 13-inch Team Real­tree EZ Hanger for my bow goes on my left (I’m right-handed), at stand­ing shoul­der height. An­other hook for my pack (B) goes on the right side, at shoul­der height while seated.

BE SAFE

I wear a full­body safety har­ness and put the belt around the tree be­fore ever leav­ing the ground. I sim­ply slide it up the trunk above me as I climb. Once I’m hunting, the belt stays se­cure just above my pack hanger, which keeps it at the ideal height for stand­ing to shoot.

CLIP ON

I zip-tie a cou­ple of heavy Drings (A) to the arm­rests of my stand. Th­ese are per­fect for hang­ing a quiver, grunt call, or rangefinder.

PULL UP

I tie two 25foot lengths of para­cord, with Drings on the ends, to my stand be­fore each climb. One is a pull-rope for my bow, and the other is for my pack.

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