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.
Best Time to Hang Tree Stands
The best time to hang tree stands is generally thought to be late spring or early summer.
Hanging a tree stand during the spring growing season can ensure that the new young foliage growth does not compromise proposed shooting lanes. Additionally, walking into the woods to set your stands in late spring or early summer can provide an opportunity to review and finalize your access routes to and from the stand.
If you have had a favorite tree in the past, checking its sturdiness during these months is vital. As time passes, the tree can be compromised by natural events, woodland creatures, or expected growth, so seeing how your tree has fared during the off-season is essential for your safety.
Using late spring and early summer as the period to set your stands also provides an ideal amount of time to scout your preferred location for deer movements and habits.
But it’s not as simple as that. The reality is plenty of folks operate a “run & gun” setup which sees them hanging a tree stand on the same day as the hunt. So although there are advantages to prepping and planning, the truth is there’s no simple best time to hang tree stands.
Benefits of Hanging Tree Stands Early
Preparing for hunting season is a year-round endeavor for many hunters, so ensuring that all equipment is prepared and ready to be placed in the woods is an enjoyable task.
A key benefit of setting a hanging tree stand early in the year is that the deer will be accustomed to the stands. Diminished fear will lead to less spooking and potentially a better shot.
Additionally, when a stand is placed early enough, your scent – the scent of humans – dissipates, and it becomes easy to blend in with the natural smells of the forest. The human scent stays on the ground, trees, and the stand for about three days. If it rains immediately after you set your stand, your scent on the tree and the surrounding area washes away more quickly.
Finally, if you know where you have placed a hanging stand, you can be sure to keep clear shooting lanes to enhance the efficacy of your hunt. Hanging your stand in early summer will allow you to initially clear any springtime growth from your shooting lands. By checking on your stand in the fall before hunting season, you may make any necessary shooting lane adjustments before the season begins.
Possible Problems With Hanging Tree Stands Too Early
Unfortunately, the deer might change their movement patterns before hunting season if you hang tree stands too early. Visit the proposed location of your tree stand multiple times for a few weeks before deciding to affix the stand to a tree.
Another potential problem is theft of equipment if you hunt on public lands or private lands if multiple hunters have permission to hunt the property. If you leave equipment for months leading up to hunting season, other hunters or property owners might think that the stand is from an older season or no longer in use and remove it. Adding specific tags to your stand to mark it as yours helps prevent vandalism or theft.
Can You Hang Tree Stands Too Late?
While the late spring to early summer period is an advantageous time to hang a stand in a tree, your timeline is determined by your process and which strategies you choose to implement in selecting a prime location for hunting.
Many find that using day-of climbing stands reduces planning anxiety and provides an equally enjoyable hunt. However, there might be some benefits that you are missing from not establishing a hunting location earlier in the year. Specifically, setting up a stand can be disruptive, so there is a built-in waiting period after you arrive where the woods will need to calm again.
Further, bringing a stand with you into the woods increases the weight and the amount of gear to haul on foot to a prime hunting location. What’s more, hunters can choose to be flexible with how they prefer to hunt from day to day or season by season, so exploring which type of setup and stand is best for you is entirely reasonable.
Select the Best Location
Scouting an area to view and understand deer movement patterns is essential to know which location to place your hanging tree stand. The deer’s most expected and recognizable movement is the deer’s path between the daytime bedding area and an evening food source.
Additionally, hunters should choose a location based on other factors that contribute to deer movement. First, deer move following the sun rising and setting and travel in their area, most often at dawn and dusk. Second, factoring in how the wind will move by you in the stand is essential to the degree that it can be predicted because deer can sense danger by using their nose.
Logistically, hunters should place their stand so that the sunsets behind the stand so the sun will not impair the ability to see approaching deer or your shooting path. Additionally, it can reduce potential glare that might spook dear and disrupt your hunt.
Also, hang your stand so that you will need to move very little to take a shot. If you need to adjust your feet before taking the shot or pulling the bow, then you might scare your prey and miss your opportunity.
Some hunters have experienced success in specific locations, including trails frequently traveled by deer, near bedding areas with signs of current use, and above food and water sources. Deer enjoy eating white acorns, so finding a location near a tree producing this delicacy will have the deer walking directly towards you.
Hanging Before or During Rain
Some folk say that the best time to hang tree stands is right before a rain storm as setting a stand in the rain minimizes noise and means your scent will be almost immediately washed away.
It is an important safety measure to refrain from hanging a tree stand during the rain, however. It is hazardous to hang a stand in wet conditions because the chance of slipping and falling dramatically increases, as does the risk of serious injury.
Importance of Mobility & Adjusting
A hunter needs to be comfortable in their stand since they must remain as still as possible to ensure maximum stealth. The ability to adjust a stand to meet your needs is critical. Additionally, when hunting, it is not uncommon to sit in a stand for hours on end, so having the flexibility to move and adjust yourself through your hunting period is essential for a successful hunt.
One of the main reasons it is possible to experience a successful hunt on the same day as hanging your stand is because same-day work allows a hunter range and mobility to accommodate how their body is feeling on that particular day.
Tips for Hanging a Stand Stealthily
Interestingly, areas of increased human activities are the most accessible locations to move stealthily, which epitomizes the idea of hiding in plain sight. Specifically, deer accustomed to hearing and smelling humans near their living areas will be less likely to be spooked by a hunter’s presence.
For instance, in wooded areas near hiking paths, bike trails, and vehicular traffic, a hum of daily human intrusions is created, and deer eventually tune out the noise and disruption.
Finally, if you can handle your tree stand between late spring and early summer, there is little need to be stealthy. The deer will have long forgotten that you entered the forest to set the stand by the time season arrives, and you will have selected the best location for success.
When To Set Up Ladder Stands
Ladder stands require more time to hang in a tree and cause more forest disturbance on the day of your hunt. Most hunters agree that hanging later stands two weeks to a month before hunting in the stand is the best practice to ensure that deer become comfortable with the artificial equipment in the woods. (See “Do Deer Notice Ladder Stands“).
The Best Time to Hang Tree Stands
For some hunters, a specific, historically-successful location is where they will place a tree stand, so there is less need for scouting a location. If a hunter remains happy about the site and productivity is high, then simply ensuring that deer movement in the area remains the same annually is essential.
When you decide to set up your tree stand, remember to keep safety practices at the forefront. Check and double-check all ropes, straps, and cables that secure your stand to the tree. When available, use a full-body harness attached to the stand or tree that will offer additional support movement or unintentional falls.
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!