Homemade Hunting Ladders

by Clayton Yuetter

A variety of hunting ladders can be made to gain access to a tree stand. These range from quick and simple options to ladders that are part of the stand itself. Keep safety considerations in mind when building and using homemade hunting ladders, especially when climbing them with your firearm.

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Quick and Simple

Many hunters would rather spend most of their time in the woods waiting for deer rather than building a tree stand ladder. The quickest way to make a ladder is to chop up a piece of thick board, such as a 4 x 6, and nail the boards at intervals into the tree leading to the stand. Though this takes only a few minutes, it does come with the disadvantage of harming the tree with nail holes, possibly violating environmental laws.

Attached to Front of Stand

Build a wooden ladder consisting of two equally long support beams and short crossbeams and attach it to the front of the tree stand. It can be chained to a metal platform, or if the stand is made of wood, nailed to it. The ladder can also be used as additional support for the stand. This type of ladder is also fairly quick to make, and is easier to climb than blocks nailed to a tree.

For Self-Supporting Stands

Those willing to put more time into their stands and ladders, as well as those who don't have a tree to put the stand can make a self-supporting stand out of lumber. This has a ladder on both sides that meet at a platform on top in a V-formation. The ladders act as legs for the stand, secured to the platform with nails. It is important that the ladders have a wide base to make the stand steadier.

Safety Considerations

Always climb hunting ladders with an unloaded gun. It is not enough simply to have the safety on because it can become dislodged if you fall or drop the gun. Tie a rope to the top of the ladder that is long enough to reach the ground. Before you climb the ladder secure your gun to the rope, tying it around the stock. Leave the gun on the ground, climb the ladder and then use the rope to slowly haul it up to the stand, making sure it doesn't bang against the tree. Even with this cautious method, never pull up a loaded gun.

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