HIGH AND MIGHTY
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.