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.
 

hambone76

Senior Member
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.
 

deast1988

Senior Member
Saddle is different but you can hang off the tree with it between you and the game. It’s a different concept but works fantastic.
 
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Triple C

Senior Member
Saddle is different but you can hang off the tree with it between you and the game. It’s a different concept but works fantastic.
deast - My son hunts out of a saddle from time to time. I understand it is the safest way to hunt from a tree as you are never unattached from the time you leave the ground. I have a mental block of looking down at that small bridge and thinking it ain't gonna break.
 
Thread starter #12

Triple C

Senior Member
Well...I've got a couple of these put together. They seem to be of decent quality and quite sturdy. But...they are made in China. That typically means the precision is lacking here and there when it comes to everything lining up. No different with these. I had two missing parts that caused me to have to run to the hardware store to complete the assembly. Took about 45 minutes to assemble the first one and bout half that time to assemble the second. I'll strap em on a tree here in the next month or so and post pics of the setup.
 

godogs57

Senior Member
My “lowest” kill with my Black Widow was years ago and I was six (6) feet off the ground. Had a nice 8 pointer cutting across a field I hunted seen on many occasions. His path always crossed in front of an outside corner of the field with a huge pine tree growing right at that corner. I decided to put up a stand in that pine...ohhhh....15-20 feet high should be about right. The pine, however, had a stinkin mass of greenbrier growing up the tree with a giant “ball” of vine at 6’ elevation. It was huge. My lightbulb went off, which it did rarely back then, and I hung the hang on @ 6’.

I was embarrassed to be only six feet off the ground and hoped the farmer didn’t see me and think the idiot hunter was scared of heights.

To my utter surprise, that dang buck showed up at the upper end of the field and made a beeline across the field, crossed less than ten feet from me and never had a clue I was in that mass of greenbrier vine. Afterwards, I thought I could give advice to both Gene Wensel and Fred Bear.
 
Been looking at that stand myself. I have a section on my club that is young pines and nothing to climb but I think I can get one of these stand setup in some thick stuff and make it work. Intrested in how you like them. Please keep us posted sir.
 
Thread starter #15

Triple C

Senior Member
My “lowest” kill with my Black Widow was years ago and I was six (6) feet off the ground. Had a nice 8 pointer cutting across a field I hunted seen on many occasions. His path always crossed in front of an outside corner of the field with a huge pine tree growing right at that corner. I decided to put up a stand in that pine...ohhhh....15-20 feet high should be about right. The pine, however, had a stinkin mass of greenbrier growing up the tree with a giant “ball” of vine at 6’ elevation. It was huge. My lightbulb went off, which it did rarely back then, and I hung the hang on @ 6’.

I was embarrassed to be only six feet off the ground and hoped the farmer didn’t see me and think the idiot hunter was scared of heights.

To my utter surprise, that dang buck showed up at the upper end of the field and made a beeline across the field, crossed less than ten feet from me and never had a clue I was in that mass of greenbrier vine. Afterwards, I thought I could give advice to both Gene Wensel and Fred Bear.
Watched an interview with Gene Wensel and was surprised at how low he hunted out of tree stands with the situation called for it. His favorite was bout 6 to 8 ft tucked in a cedar tree.
 
Thread starter #16

Triple C

Senior Member
Allen - I've got 3 of em assembled. Made in China. Go figure. But, they are sturdy and seem to be well built. Too freakin' hot to wanna go set em right now. I've got multiple keiffer pears that are loaded this year and 3 mature persimmons that are just calling these stand's name. Will update when I set em up.
 
Allen - I've got 3 of em assembled. Made in China. Go figure. But, they are sturdy and seem to be well built. Too freakin' hot to wanna go set em right now. I've got multiple keiffer pears that are loaded this year and 3 mature persimmons that are just calling these stand's name. Will update when I set em up.
You are right about Hot!!!
 

godogs57

Senior Member
Watched an interview with Gene Wensel and was surprised at how low he hunted out of tree stands with the situation called for it. His favorite was bout 6 to 8 ft tucked in a cedar tree.
Gene is a friend of mine...great guy and a great hunter. Always one step ahead of the deer .
 
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