A hang-on tree stand is an excellent addition for any solo hunter. This stand gives you a platform where you can sit to wait for game up in a tree. Tree stands come in various designs depending on your needs and wants.
One might be surprised to hear that it is possible, and even easy, to hang a tree stand on your own. You don’t need another hunter or even a lot of equipment. All you need is your tree stand, climbing sticks, a lineman’s harness, and rope. There are plenty of extras and modifications to make the best experience for your hunting journey.
In this article, you’ll learn how to hang a tree stand, including information about what tree to pick and safety information regarding your harness. You’ll find out how to attach the climbing sticks and eventually how to hang a tree stand. Lastly, we finish with some tips on doing this while only making one trip up the tree.
Picking a Tree
Picking a solid tree to be the foundation for your tree stand is essential. Not only is it safer, but the placement of the tree will help dictate how well your hunt goes.
Ideally, you want to find a healthy mature tree with good foliage and few branches. Older mature trees will be more robust than young trees, and particularly higher up. Mature trees will also have a fuller foliage cover, meaning there is less chance of your hunt seeing you.
Try to find a tree that doesn’t have many little branches in your way, like those you will need to cut off while you climb.
If you can, try to find a tree that is roughly ten yards downwind from where you spotted any tracks. This distance will give you a good shooting range and keeping you from having to shoot directly down. Downwind trees will also keep your prey from smelling you.
Once you have a tree picked, you can prepare to climb. To do so safely, you need a linesman harness. This harness will securely wrap around your legs and torso, and some will include a lifeline strap on the back. The lifeline will eventually be attached to the tree itself to protect you from falling out of the stand.
When climbing, you want to be attached to the tree at all times. A common way to do this is to use a lineman’s belt. The linesman belt is a rope or strap that goes around the tree and attaches to either side of your harness. With the belt secured, you can lean into your harness mid-climb and have both hands free to install your climbing sticks or your stand.
When traversing branches around your stand, a handy tip is to use your tether line. To get around a spot where you need to remove your lineman’s belt, attach your tether strap to where you are trying to go.
Once secured to the tree, you can remove your lineman’s belt and reattach it once past the branch or stand. Remember always to be attached to the tree in some way to avoid falls.
Attaching Your Climbing Sticks
Climbing sticks come in a variety of designs, but the installation is similar across them. Place your climbing stick against the tree and wrap the strap around the tree. Next, tighten the belt as much as you can.
Before stepping on the climbing stick, be sure to press down on it first to put it in place. When you first attach the climbing stick to the tree, there will always be a little bit of drop before it fully locks into place.
The placement of your climbing sticks concerning the stand is primarily personal preference. Some hunters recommend that you place the top step of your uppermost climbing stick to be slightly above the stand platform so that you step down into the platform.
Other hunters suggest that you instead keep your last step in level with the tree stand platform, so you are stepping over.
Attaching Your Hang On Stand
Once you’re at the height where you want to place your tree stand, you hold the tree stand against the tree. The tree stand will typically have two straps to connect it to the tree. If you’re wondering how to hang a lock-on tree stand, you’ll want to attach the top strap first.
Unfold the tree stand and get the top strap as tight as you can. Once you’re finished with that strap, fold the platform up and tighten the strap again.
Now you can unfold the platform. Tightening the top strap with the platform folded up and then folding it back down will make that top strap taut. You can now attach the bottom strap. With the tree stand now secure, it is safe to step on.
Attaching Your Lifeline
Your lifeline is what will keep you safe while you are on your stand. The first step to attach your lifeline is to secure a tree or tether strap to the tree.
The exact location of the rope is up to preference so long as it’s high. Some hunters prefer to place the tether as high as possible, while others like to have it at head height while sitting. One bowhunter remarked they chose to keep the tether at about head height so that the lifeline wouldn’t go in their way when they pulled back on the bow.
The tether strap is then attached to your lifeline. The lifeline can be a rope that gets clipped to your harness and the tether strap, or it may be a strap directly built into your harness. Remember always to be attached to the tree in some way, either by the lifeline or the lineman’s belt, at all times to avoid falling.
How Long Does It Take to Hang a Tree Stand?
So, how long does it take to hang a tree stand? The short answer to this question is: it depends. Your experience level and the climbing conditions make a massive difference in how long it will take you to hang your tree stand.
If you don’t have any branches to remove, an experienced hunter can hang a tree stand in as little as five minutes. If the tree is a little more crowded or the hunter is less experienced, it may take as long as an hour.
It is important not to rush yourself when hanging a tree stand. For one, rushing will increase your chance of making a mistake, leading to you falling out.
Secondly, if you are hanging your stand on the same day as your hunt, you want to be as quiet as possible so as not to scare off any game. If you take your time, you can ensure you are as quiet as possible. (See our article on the best time to hang tree stands for more info).
How To Hang a Tree Stand in One Trip (6 Tips)
It is always satisfying to only have to make one trip up the tree. It is possible to hang a tree stand in one trip, but it does take some preparation.
Make a Plan
Have a clear idea of how you want to climb and how you want to access your gear and supplies once you are already up the tree.
Take the time to get to know your equipment and find out what configuration of getting it all up the tree is the most comfortable for you. Practice will help lessen the chance that you’ll have to climb back down if something doesn’t go according to plan.
Attach Your Climbing Sticks to You
You want to have your hands free when you climb. Either attach the climbing sticks to your harness or use the straps of the climbing sticks to hang them off your shoulder.
Decide How You Want to Bring Up Your Stand
Some hunters will wear the stand on their back as they climb up. Others will tie a rope to the frame and use a carabiner to clip the other end of the top to the back of their harness.
If you opt to use a rope, ensure that the cord is long enough to reach the ground from the top of the tree, and attach it to the back of your harness so that the rope doesn’t get in your way.
Attach Your Gear and Weapon
Like the stand, your gear and weapon can have a rope tied to them with the other end attached to you. Once you are up in the tree stand, it’s as easy as pulling everything up.
Keep a Saw Handy
If you need to remove some branches, remember to keep a folding saw on your person while you’re climbing, such as in a back pocket. Without it, you may find you’ll have to make an unexpected trip back down the tree.
Hang on tree stands can be an excellent option for hunting, and with the proper installation, they can be completely safe. Now that you know how to hang a tree stand, you’re ready to go.
Remember to plan ahead and always be attached to the tree while climbing and in the tree stand. Happy hunting!