According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, over 101 million people went hunting in 2016. That’s a pretty good indicator of how serious hunting is in the United States. Seasoned hunters want to ensure that they give themselves the best chance at harvesting the best game in an area. To do that, it’s important to look at whether you should buy a hang-on tree stand or the climber variety.
Your decision ultimately boils down to two basic points: the quality of the timber and your preferred style of hunting.
Deeply wooded areas with lots of straight trees tend to be a great fit for climbers, whereas thick stands of trees with tons of branches lend themselves to hang-on stands.
Your preferred hunting style makes a difference when choosing between buying a hang-on stand or a climbing treestand. If you want to run for the game (run-n-gun hunting), then hang-on stands are a better buy than climber types.
So, if you’re planning to hunker down for hours at a time, climbers are the gold standard for this particular hunting style.
Hunting on Public Land
Public land has its benefits for a good hunt: high game population, easy access, and strong land management. However, public land also limits you to climbing stands. While there isn’t a hard rule against hang-ons, public lands do not allow them to remain overnight.
So if you bring a hang-on stand, you’ll have to take it down at the end of the day, creating a lot of noise in the process. Noise is the enemy when it comes to tracking and watching game.
Climber tree stands are easy to set up and take down without causing much noise in the process. If you’re trying to save money by choosing public land over private, climber tree stands will likely be the best choice.
Hunting on Private Land
Getting access to private land gives you the best of everything: the right mix of game, the right blend of timber, and the right combination of terrain.
Assuming you’ve already done your research and you’re looking at making the most out of private land, the hang-on stands are a great fit. The hang-on stand can be left for the entire season or overnight; the choice is up to you. Leaving gear out in an area you plan to scout over the season means less effort day-to-day.
Having a comfortable setup is your ideal goal if you like to record the area to track game movement during the rut or other heavy traffic periods.
Some still prefer the climber tree stand if they have a lot of straight trees to choose from. If you’re familiar with the area and know it has a ton of knobby trees to navigate, you’ll still want to reach for the hang-on tree stand over the climber.
Pros and Cons of Using a Hang-On Tree Stand
Ready to make your purchase? Check out this quick list of the pros and cons of hang-on tree stands.
The most significant advantage of hanging tree stands is their versatility in deep woods, where the trees are really gnarled and full of branches. You can set the hang-ons up and leave them up once you find the perfect spot.
You can carry these stands backpack style, which means it's easier to survey the land until you find the right spot. You also don’t have to take down branches to get the hang-on tree stands to fit .
You need to take additional equipment to get your hang-on stand into the tree and properly secured.
Those who require larger platforms to feel confident at heights may find the smaller hang-on stands to be too insubstantial.
Pros and Cons of Climbing Treestands
Weighing the pros and cons of climber stands is as important as looking at hang-ons. Here’s what you need to know.
Climber stands let you go much higher on the tree compared to hang-on stands. Having a higher top-level view gives you a chance to really see the surrounding area.
In addition, climbers give you an extremely comfortable place to sit for a while. Climber tree stands are perfect for public land because you can take them down quickly.
When compared to their hang-on counterparts, climbers are far more portable. Every ounce of weight matters while moving from one hunting spot to another.
Climbing tree stands can be carried with ease, making them ideal for run-n-gun style mobile hunting.
The climber tree stand system is fussier and requires that you focus during the setup process. In addition, you have to factor in the additional time to climb up so high with all of your other gear on.
Climber stands also require trees with no branches; you could end up having to remove branches just to use this tree stand. If you plan to hunt in dense woods with thick branches, the hang-on tree stand system is a better option.
You must have a strong safety plan when you plan to be up so high in the trees. As with all treestand hunting you must always use a TSA-approved hunting safety harness.
The Bottom Line
Like most hunting gear purchases, a suitable stand depends on your personal preferences as well as the type of hunting you’re about to enjoy.
The hang-on and climber stands both have their place, and some hunters prefer to own both for flexibility’s sake.
Your tree stand purchase should reflect your hunting style as well as the land you frequent the most.
Get to know the land you will often visit and study the trees. As you move from place to place, the best stand will become an easier choice because you will figure out what type of assistance you need.
The straightest trees are the best for tree stands, so keep that in mind as you look through the available collections.
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