In search of the perfect trad bow tree stand...

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Triple C

Senior Member
Last year I had the good fortune of having Al33 down to my farm for a weekend hunt. He connected on a nice doe on his 2nd afternoon sit in a lock on stand that he hung earlier that afternoon overlooking a loaded persimmon tree. To my amazement, he hung the stand only 10 ft off the ground. A little backstory...First day down I showed Al all of my ladder stands I had set that I thought were in good locations as I had seen deer out of all of them. All were a minimum of 18 ft high. I could tell he wasn't overly impressed with my setups. After he hunted the 1st afternoon and 2nd morning with no luck, we were having lunch and Al asks me if I have a known food source that deer were using. I immediately think of 2 persimmon trees that were loaded and dropping and off we went to check them out. 1st one is on the edge of a small swampy beaver pond with a small rise overlooking in with thick cover. He spots a pine tree about 8 yds from the persimmon and surrounded by thick vegeation and says that's where I need a stand. I grab an extra hang-on and sticks from the shop and All proceeds to hang it. And to my amazement, hangs it maybe 10 ft off the ground. I'm thinking busted. Well...he proved me wrong. 1st sit and he has backstraps on the ground with his self made bow, arrows and stone point. Lessons learned:
  • Stand must be over an active food source with a shot opportunity of 12 yds or less.
  • Stand must be portable and easy to move during season to adapt to food sources as they change.
  • 10 to 12 ft is plenty high for trad bow hunting. Anything higher and the shot angle becomes too steep.
There's a reason Al kills so many deer with a trad bow. Boy, did I learn some lessons from him. With that in mind, I began to search for the perfect ladder stand (I prefer them over hang-on's at my age). I've bought a number of different stands over the years. Most in the 20 ft range, heavy and once set, you just didn't wanna move them due to the weight and aggravation of setting when alone. I hope I have finally found the stand that I can easily move from area to area without needing help setting against the tree - The X-Stand Apollo. 10 ft high...weighs 38 lbs...ladder folds and packs against the stand...easily maneuverable...locking jaw system...and easy for one person to move and reset. I have one X-Stand with the locking jaw which I really like but it is a 2 person job to set.

So, I just ordered a couple of these. Hopefully it will fit the bill as a very portable, lightweight ladder stand for trad bow hunting. I'll update as to how I like it when I set em up and begin to hunt this season.

X-Stand Apollo.jpg
 
My all time favorite hang on was made by Gorilla( don’t think they are still in business) weighs 5 pounds but solid when mounted. I never liked the real big platforms I just needed enough to move a little for a shot. Killed a pile of deer from that stand with a Bear recurve and a HH longbow. I always used the ladder sticks 3 or 4 sticks would get you 12-16 feet and were light. One of my best public land spots was a small pin oak tree in the middle of a big CRP field I was able to climb the tree without any ladder and my feet were maybe 10 feet above ground.Play the wind and keep still you don’t need to be 25’ up. Those stands look like they should work.
 
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Triple C

Senior Member
My all time favorite hang on was made by Gorilla( don’t think they are still in business) weighs 5 pounds but solid when mounted. I never liked the real big platforms I just needed enough to move a little for a shot. Killed a pile of deer from that stand with a Bear recurve and a HH longbow. I always used the ladder sticks 3 or 4 sticks would get you 12-16 feet and were light. One of my best public land spots was a small pin oak tree in the middle of a big CRP field I was able to climb the tree without any ladder and my feet were maybe 10 feet above ground.Play the wind and keep still you don’t need to be 25’ up. Those stands look like they should work.
Longbeard...At just 38 lbs and easily packable, I'm hoping these ladders prove to be quite easy to move as needed as the season progresses. I got a lot of ladder stands out but once set it is a pain in the butt to even think about moving. Most all are a 2 man job to move. Honestly, when Al hung that stand last year at probably not even 10 ft off the ground I just thought "No Way" but he proved me wrong. Tucked that thing in tree with plenty of foliage around it and bam...dead deer. After shooting a compound for many, many years and quite comfortable at 20 ft or higher and shots out to 30 yds, I'm slowly learning that trad hunting is a whole different world. 12 yds or less and not as high.
 
If I drill a tree my Loc-on is 16 ft high. If I use my Buck steps my Loc-on is 14 ft high. Now if I find a good Sawtooth oak dropping I might not be over 10 feet high with some cut out foliage for a shooting lane.
 

John Cooper

Senior Member
I like the old lock on lems and windwalkers. Rope on tree steps. Light and portable.
 
That setup should serve you well.
I’m using a Millenium lock on and a couple sections of sticks this year.
I already have another Game Winner Loc on set up on a high-banked creek crossing and an older API that still needs to be set up. I’ll hold off on setting it up until I find some muscadines that are dropping.
 
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