Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How Tree Stands Work


Types of Tree Stands

Maybe on your walks in the woods, you've seen many tree stands but you don't know how to distinguish one from one other. Some of the stands you see look like boxes, others resemble metal chairs and a few have ladders attached to them. Exp­erts typically group stands into four categories:

  • Ladder stands
  • Climbing stands
  • Non-climbing, fixed position stands
  • Freestanding, open platform stands

A ladder stand might be one of the easiest types of tree stands to use because it consists of steps connected to a small platform. This kind of stand can be used on many species of trees. Because it has a ladder, the hunter has easy and safe access to the stand platform.

A climbing stand requires the hunter to climb the tree to reach the platform, and therefore isn't meant for flimsier trees with flaky barks, or winter hunting when there may be ice or snow on the trunk and branches.

­Non-climbing, fixed position stands are simple platforms that have a seat and a footrest attached to a tree. These stands necessitate the use of climbing aids such as climbing steps and climbing sticks. However, you can't use them just anywhere -- climbing steps require permission on private property and screw-in steps are illegal on public property.

Freestanding, open platform stands are also called tower or tripod stands. These stands aren't truly tree stands, since they're used on open lands with few trees.

Whichever tree stand you settle on, you won't just slap it on the first tree you see. Keep reading to learn about the art and science of tree stand placement.