You got up into your ladder stand before dawn. You’ve been waiting hours, watching it get light. It’s so cold you think bits of you might just drop off. And then, in the total silence of the dead-calm still morning you spot one! You shift your weight to ready a shot and…
We all know that sometimes it’s just not your day. But a squeaky ladder stand is one of those things that you really don’t have to live with. If you want some tips on how to quieten down (or possibly even silence) your ladder stand, read on!
Tighten Everything Up
User error is a common reason for a squeaky ladder stand. So before you try anything too drastic to try and fix that noise, it’s definitely worth giving your rig a proper once over.
Confirm your stand is properly seated against the ground
Start by loosening all your straps and making sure the ladder is evenly seated on the ground. Then tighten all the straps up again.
Make sure nuts and bolts are tight
Easily done, but a loose fitting could be your downfall. Go over every single bolt, making sure it’s tight.
Ratchet straps are properly tight against the tree
Some ladder stands only come with a single ratchet strap. But if you’re squeaking then it may be worth investing in 1-2 more just to make sure the stand is firm against the tree.
Use a ratchet strap vertically
Speaking of which…You may be getting vertical movement. If you’re certain your ladder is firming against the ground, you can use a camo ratchet strap running from the bottom rung right up to the seat.
Double check any support bars
If you have a support bar going from the mid point of the ladder to the tree, that could be a source of squeaking. Some people like to make this bar one hole ‘tighter’, effectively pushing the ladder slightly out from the tree. You can also use an extra ratchet strap at the midpoint to make it extra tight.
Padding between the ladder stand and the tree
Even if everything is super tight, you may find that your ladder stand rubs against the tree.
Use Rubber Tubing Or Old Carpet
Placing some sort of barrier wherever your stand touches the tree can help. The noise of bark on metal can be surprisingly loud. Anything that won’t make it worse would be an improvement! Consider using rubber bicycle tubing or pieces of old carpet.
Work on the joints
If your ladder stand is rock solid, then the next thing you might want to check are the joints. The squeaking comes from movement. The joints are where most movement is occurring. Reducing this metal-on-metal contact could well help you silence your stand.
Replace all bolts and washers
Nylon washers are all very well. But they can generate a bit of noise. Using teflon washers could be an even better choice.
Swap Out Pins For Bolts
I’ve not yet heard one person stick their hands up and say they think pins in the ladder stand are a good thing. But I’ve heard plenty of folk say they switch out the pins with good quality bolts as standard practice. Just be careful not to overtighten and crush the thinner metal.
A lot of people are in favor of lubricating the joints to reduce squeaking. The only issue is odor. So find something that is fairly odorless. Bow string wax is a great idea. Some folks use vegetable oil or no-scent gun oil. You get the idea… Don’t use WD40!!
Quite a few folk say they like to use a spray can of undercoating. This obviously has to be done well in advance because it definitely doesn’t pass the smell test for a while after.
Wrap Tape Around Male Connectors
If lubrication isn’t doing the job, then wrapping the male ends of all the ladder sections in tape (electrical tape or hockey tape should be fine) can give a tiger, noiseless connection. You could even try spray on rubber.
Coat Bolts & Washers In Silicone
Taking that idea further, you could coat not just the connectors but all the bolts and washers too! And instead of wrapping them in take you could use spray cans of Flex Seal.
Starting to get onto some serious fixes now! If literally none of the above are working for you you may be looking at damage limitation. In other words, find ways to soften the noise.
This seems like a pretty low cost, low effort idea that you’d be as well doing anyway. Wrapping all the joints in camo duct tape.
I’ve heard that you can fill the whole ladder stand with expanding foam and it will apparently just deaden any noise coming out of it. I’ve not done it. I’m not recommending it. But I’ve heard it works.
And if none of that works, there’s plenty of folks who swear by welding all moving parts. Not sure what you do when it comes to taking the ladder stand down or relocating it. But it might be worth considering if you plan on keeping it up permanently.