Build a Hunting Tree Stand

article image
PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Our climbing stand, which is ideal for hunting, can  "inchworm" its way up a tree.

When you build a hunting tree stand the world of the hunt can open up to the outdoorsperson. (See the hunting tree stands diagram in the image gallery.)

People who appreciate the outdoors realize that it’s
necessary to be unobtrusive if you’re to best
enjoy its appeal; those who are least conspicuous are most
likely to view nature’s surprisingly busy agenda. To a
hunter or wildlife photographer, this frequently means
picking an advantageous spot in the woods and simply
staying put until something of interest comes along. And,
for a number of reasons, the best spot is often one a dozen
or more feet off the ground . . . where the lanes of sight
are less obstructed, the view is nearly panoramic, and the
possibility of human scent being noticed is reduced
considerably. You can build a hunting tree stand from these easy-to-follow instructions.

The two tree stands that we’ve detailed here can both
provide efficient observation or shooting platforms. One is
a stationary stand that folds flat, weighs 20 pounds, and
can be hauled up a tree with a line or positioned with the
help of a ladder. Once raised, it’s chained, top and
bottom, around the trunk of the tree and secured with lever
binders that draw the coils tight. The foot platform
measures a comfortable 23 inches by 31 inches, and the seat is contoured
to accommodate the thighs. The metal parts are lightweight
extruded aluminum, available from a fabricator’s supply
house . . . but steel angle and channel can be used as an
alternative if weight is not a factor.

Since installing the stationary model is enough of a chore
to convince most people to leave the stand in place for an
extended period once it’s secured to a tree, it’s best
suited for use on private property rather than public lands
(where, in most cases, tree stands must be removed daily).
Therefore, we’ve also illustrated a two-piece climbing
version that has staggered girths that grip the tree trunk
when the platforms are in a horizontal position. To use it,
a climber merely has to stand on the installed foot
platform with the seat section dug in overhead, then pull
him- or herself up–using the built-in
handles–while lifting the lower platform with the
foot loops provided. Once the bottom section is locked in
its new position, the process is repeated until the desired
height is achieved.

The framework on this model is 1/8 inch by 1 inch angle iron, which
should easily support an average-sized individual . . .
but, if necessary, feel free to upgrade the stand by using
larger sections of angle . . . and, of course, check all of
the components for signs of wear before taking to the
trees. Eight pairs of mounting holes allow the girths to be
adjusted to suit the diameter of the trunk you choose to
climb, and nylon utility straps help secure the grip once
you’ve attained the height you want.

Before you start your trek into the wilderness, keep these
points in mind: Never climb a tree while carrying sharp or
pointed equipment that could injure you in a fall; instead,
pull your gear up once you’re perched. Always wear a safety
belt and extension strap when using a tree stand, no matter
how comfortable you feel with heights. And please be
considerate of the forest that’s hosting your visit; choose
a tree that’ll require little or no trimming, so your
impact on it will be minimal.