The best ladder stand for bow hunting will, first and foremost, have a platform big enough for you to stand and draw your bow easily. It will also be
as quiet as a mouse quieter than a mouse (no squeaking). And it will be comfortable. In that order.
The Muddy Nexus XTL is widely considered the best ladder stand for bow hunting because it’s rock solid, comfortable, quiet and boasts a massive 10sq-foot platform.
Other noble ladder stand options are:
- Big Game Hunter HD 1.5 (Best budget option)
- X Stand The Duke 20 (Very popular)
- X-Stand The Jayhawk 20 (Awesome 2 person stand)
- Hawk Big Denali 1.5 (Small but comfortable)
Muddy Nexus XTL – Best Ladder Stand for Bow Hunting
Made of steel that includes a Fiber Guard coating, the Muddy Nexus XTL has a design to withstand outside elements resulting in a long lifespan. The weight capacity is 500 lbs, and the seats include padded armrests for additional comfort.
The seats fold up for full use of the platform, allowing you to shoot from the stand while sitting down or standing up. Assembly and installation are simple, but the overall weight of 115 lbs may cause a two-man setup process.
The platform measures 42 inches wide by 34 inches deep, with a seat that measures 39 feet wide by 17 inches deep. Backrest measurements are almost identical to the seat measurements, with the only difference being an additional 2-inches added to the height.
A flip-up footrest allows for maximum comfort while remaining respectful of the provided platform space.
The padded railing keeps the noise minimal, and its adjustable design makes it easy to use at varying heights. The height from the ground to the shooting rail is 20 feet.
One of the key benefits to the Muddy Nexus XTL is that you can leave it out in the elements and not have to worry about it rusting or wearing to the point of no return.
The biggest complaint on this ladder stand is the weight. When carrying it through the woods to set up, it can become heavy. Users recommend that you have 1–2 helpers when setting this stand up to ensure it goes up correctly and no one suffers injury during the process.
A feature that has received positive comments is that the platform is usable in full as the seats fold up and the footrest is movable.
If you are looking for a ladder tree stand that you can leave up year-round, the Muddy Nexus XTL is the perfect ladder tree stand for you.
Big Game Hunter HD 1.5 – Best Budget Ladder Stand for Bow Hunting
Big Game Hunter HD 1.5 tree stand weighs 61 lbs making it easy to transport with one person. This also allows for an easy setup of the stand. A weight capacity of 350 lbs and seat dimensions of 23 inches wide by 18 inches deep making it ideal for heftier hunters.
The platform measures 23.5 inches wide by 29 inches deep. The seat and footrest fold up, allowing hunters to use the platform in its entirety.
Seating comes with padded armrests promoting all-day comfort while waiting for your trophy buck to walk by. The height of the flip-up, padded shooting rail is 18.5 feet, and the stand is made of 100% steel. Safety for the tree stand comes in the form of a 4-point, full-body safety harness.
The Big Game Hunter HD 1.5 ladder stand isn’t your decked-out, luxurious tree stand. However, it does provide a comfortable place to sit in the trees while hunting game.
The weight capacity and size of the seat make it an excellent option for those that have difficulty finding a single-person tree stand to hold their weight. The ability to fold up the footrest and the seat are additional benefits to utilizing the entire platform for additional room.
One benefit to this ladder stand is that you can set up the tree stand without additional assistance due to its lightweight design and construction.
This budget-friendly ladder stand is perfect if you are short on cash and in need of a simple, heavy-duty tree stand for bow hunting.
X-Stand The Duke
The 79 lb X-Stand The Duke ladder tree stand comes complete with a cup holder, two accessory hooks, and a 4-point safety harness. In addition to the luxury accessories, a Jaw Safety System is featured in this stand, ensuring a secure and tight fit to the tree.
The silent snap pins take the place of traditional metal pins, so there is no clanking while climbing into the stand. This stand also comes equipped with Stealth Silencers lubricating washers to help eliminate noise.
Railing for The Duke is 20 feet high, and weight capacity locks in at 300 lbs. Durable steel construction and weather defender powder-coating spray protects against the elements, and the 26 inches wide by 18 feet deep foot platform with a flip-up footrest help you get the most of the space availability.
When it comes to the installation process, users can find it fiddly to install by themselves. But the fact you can attach it to the tree from the ground is a huge bonus. And once it has been installed it’s easy to see why this ladder stand has earned it’s place on virtually every list of the best ladder stands.
In addition to the flip-up footrest, this stand comes standard with a 22 inches wide by 16 inches deep flip-up seat with padded armrests.
The X-Stand The Duke is designed specifically for safety and silence. The seat comfort and additional space availability with a fold-up footrest and seat give you the best bang-for-your-buck when utilizing the available space.
If you are looking for a single-man treestand that you can carry through the woods and install yourself, this may not be your best option.
Solid construction and extensive safety features make this a popular option among hunters looking to bow hunt out of a ladder stand. However, several users report missing hardware when attempting to set up the ladder stand.
If you are looking for a single-person stand that includes immaculate safety features and noise-canceling design, this ladder stand is where you should throw your money.
Hawk Big Denali 1.5 – Very Comfortable
The Hawk Big Denali 1.5 ladder tree stand is a heavy-duty, steel tubed stand that provides a spacious platform. Unfortunately, while the platform does provide ample space for the hunter, it lacks contact with the tree causing users to use extra caution while in the tree. The platform measures 14 inches wide by 26 inches deep, while the seat is 26 inches wide by 18 inches deep, and the backrest is an impressive 26 inches wide by 24 inches high.
At 18 feet high, this stand has a ratcheting tree strap and safe-tread steps to ensure a safe climb to the 300 lb capacity seating.
The front railing of the Hawk Big Denali 1.5 is adjustable, making it an option for both a gun rest during the gun season or simply a safety feature when hunting with a bow and arrow. The sound absorption of the stand makes it a popular option among hunters.
Ease of assembly is noted as a big draw to this product as the product weight is 65 lbs and made of steel. Unmatched seat comfort is a positive noted by reviews, with the only drawback being the seat does not flip up to provide standing room.
Safety is a feature that users boast is immaculate for this product as the included harness adds a layer of safety to the already safe stand.
The Hawk Big Denali 1.5 ladder tree stand is a good option if you have trouble finding a tree stand to fit a hefty figure. Not only is the seat XXL and made of MeshComfort material, but reviewers state that they fall asleep in the seat because it is so comfortable…which could be seen as a negative or a positive.
While the seat is known for its comfort, it may not be the best option if you enjoy standing in your tree stand as it does not fold up to create more platform space.
If you are like most hunters, you enjoy trying your hand at different weapons. The adjustable rail comes in handy for both gun hunters and bow and arrow hunters.
If you are a bulky hunter looking for comfort and a multi-weapon use ladder stand, the Hawk Big Denali 1.5 is a noble option.
X-Stand The Jayhawk 20
The X-Stand The Jayhawk is similar to the X-Stand The Duke with the key difference being it is a two-person stand as opposed to a one-person tree stand. It is 20 feet in height with a maximum weight capacity of 500 lbs.
The platform for this two-person climbing tree stand is 42 inches wide by 34 inches deep and offers strength and durability. Equipped with a flip-out footrest and a flip-up, padded shooting rail, the X-Stand The Jayhawk allows hunters to use the entire platform.
As with The Duke, a Jaw Safety System keeps the stand snug to the tree, and the Stealth Silencers help prevent squeaking and creaking while making the climb to the seats. The height of the platform is roughly 17 feet, and the height of the rail from the ground is 20 feet. The railing is adjustable.
The Jayhawk 20 has a Weather Defender powder coating that prevents rust and corrosion, allowing you to keep it in the woods for the entirety of the hunting season without having to worry about destructive wear.
Seat dimensions are 42 inches wide by 34 inches deep, and the backrest measures 39 inches wide by 9 inches high. The overall weight of the stand is 122 lbs, meaning effective installation may require an additional person.
The X-Stand The Jayhawk is the beefed-up version of The Duke. With every benefit and drawback The Duke offers, The Jayhawk comes standard with the addition of a second seat.
The adjustable railing makes it a great choice if you are taking a child hunting with you and need to adjust the railing for their specific height.
A common drawback to this stand is the hardware that comes with the purchase. Several reviews note that they were missing nuts or bolts to complete the installation process. Therefore, ensure to bring along extra hardware when installing the product.
This comfortable, noise-canceling, 2-person stand is a noble option if you are looking for a tree stand that allows you to hunt with a partner that doesn’t like to sit still.
How To Choose the Best Ladder Tree Stand for Bow Hunting
The ultimate goal for selecting the best ladder tree stand for bow hunting is differentiating between needs and wants.
It is best to first determine what you absolutely must have in the ladder stand for bow hunting.
Key features to allow for shooting a bow in a ladder stand are a large enough platform, foldable seats, and a wide shooting range.
What Are the Advantages of Ladder Tree Stands?
There are several advantages to using a tree stand as opposed to hunting from the ground:
- The longer range of visibility
- Less likely for game to spot you
- Hard for game to smell you
- Safer hunting when the arrow is pointed towards the ground
Hunting from a ladder stand is not for everyone. However, the advantages may be the deciding factor on whether or not you bring anything home.
Things To Look for/Attributes that Differentiate Ladder Tree Stands.
It’s no secret that varying ladder tree stands have different attributes that make them attractive to buyers. Some attributes to look for include:
- Platform size – With limited space, it is difficult to get the necessary shooting range, and you are limited to a narrow field of vision.
- Foldable seats and footrests – This extra space makes it easy to stand up and fully draw your bow without the worry of hitting the railing or seat. This is one of the big selling points for The Duke X-Stand.
- Comfort – Comfort is a huge factor when it comes to selecting the best ladder stands for hunters. It is difficult to remain still and quiet in a seat that simply is not comfortable. Once again, The X-Stand The Duke and the X-Stand The Jayhawk excel in this area.
- Adjustable rails – Rails that are adjustable to fit a specific height are another beneficial feature to have in a ladder stand. The ability to move the railing out of the way when it comes time to draw and shoot your bow is essential.
- Ease of assembly – One of the more frustrating parts of owning a ladder stand is assembly and set-up. A lot of ladder stands require at least two people to easily set it up. This is why we enjoyed the Big Game Hunter HD ladder stand. Its lightweight and easy assembly make it a great option for a DIY hunter.
- Durability – No one wants to purchase a tree stand that they can only use for one season. Finding a tree stand that is equipped to withstand the elements will get you the best bang for your buck.
- Noise level – It is nearly impossible to have a successful hunt if your tree stand is constantly creaking or making noise with the slightest movement. The X-Stand ladder tree stand options provide an excellent platform for noise cancellation.
What’s the Best Way to Use a Ladder Tree Stand for Bow Hunting?
Using a ladder tree stand for bow hunting can become tricky if not prepared.
The most efficient way to complete this task is to tie a rope to your bow long enough that it will reach your stand rail from the ground. Then, climb the stand and tie the rope off. Once you get comfortable in your stand, use the rope to pull up the bow.
It is also a good idea to ensure your footrest, seat, and rail fold up or adjust without any sound. This way, if you spot a deer and need to stand up, you can create enough room for you to stand and draw your bow without making any noise.
Ladder Tree Stand Controversy
The ongoing debate amongst hunters is whether a ground stand or a tree stand is a better hunting option. While ladder stands do provide multiple benefits, there are also several disadvantages, including:
- No protection from the wind
- Treestands are typically heavy
- Installation of treestands can be noisy resulting in scared game
- Weather plays a big role in whether tree stand hunting is possible
- Climbing in and out of a tree stand is an additional risk not prevalent in ground hunting
Prerequisites and Precautions for Using Ladder Tree Stands.
As with any platform that is used 10 – 20 feet in the air, several precautions must be taken into consideration.
- Understand your equipment – Before climbing into your tree stand, read and gather an understanding of how the stand works and any warnings associated with the product. It is also vital to practice how to use the safety harness that comes with the stand.
- Check for wear on your stand – It is also vital to check the status of your stand every season before putting it up. Check the straps, bolts, stability, and overall wear to ensure there are no areas that could fail to cause a fall from the tree.
- Inspect the tree – Selecting a tree that is healthy, straight, and has a wide enough diameter to support your stand is essential to ensuring a safe climb. It is also a good idea to check for any insects or animal dens within the tree.
- Check the weather – Weather conditions can change in an instant. If the weather looks unpredictable where a thunderstorm could break out, it is a good idea to have a backup plan; you don’t want to be 20 feet up in the air when lightning strikes. Similarly, if it is icy or rainy, ensure the steps of your ladder are clear to prevent any fall or slip hazards.
- Wear your safety harness – Sure, a safety harness is a hassle. But that hassle will pay off if you have an unexpected slip or doze off in your tree stand. A harness is not designed to help you when you are fully alert, it is designed for the unexpected instances that can result in serious injury if not prepared.
- Prepare for an emergency – Hunting accidents do not occur because we are waiting for them to happen, they occur because we run into an unexpected obstacle. By preparing yourself for unexpected situations, you may end up saving your life or saving your hunting partner’s life because you have practiced what steps you will take in case of an emergency.
Understanding the equipment you are working with and remaining aware of the elements is an excellent way to ensure you are prepared for a safe and effective hunt. Taking the above precautions can save your life or a hunting partner’s life if taken seriously.
Finding a ladder stand to fit your every need can be a daunting task. Lucky for you, we have researched for you and determined that the Muddy Nexus XTL is probably the best ladder stand for bow hunting.
The X-Stand The Duke has a spacious platform where the footrest and seats fold up for full use of the platform. The design is unmatched by the competition with its weather-resistant coating and use of hardware that keeps the stand from squeaking.
The X-Stand The Jayhawk is a close second as it has all the benefits of The Duke plus it has room for two people! (It’s not just great for bow hunting and makes our list of the best 2 man ladder stands >>).
If you’re looking for the best ladder stand for bow hunting that offers maximum comfort and full use of a spacious platform, look no further than The Muddy Nexus XTL.