Hunters have a lot to be thankful for these days. Just about every tool they use is better than it was back in the day. Better weapons, better clothing, better camo, better scents, and lures. And all kinds of high-tech gadgets that do everything but carry the game home for you.
But arguably the thing that they should be most thankful for is that it’s a heck of a lot easier to get up into a tree. At one time a tree stand was just a few old boards nailed to a branch. When the first climbing tree stands came out they were heavy, clunky things that were uncomfortable and hard to use.
Nowadays bow hunters can choose from a wide variety of climbers that make getting up in the tree a breeze and sitting there all day comfy. Yet many prefer the simplicity of the hang-on type of tree stand, which is no more than a platform to stand on and a seat that straps or bolts directly to the tree. Which is fine, and they have their advantages.
But you still have to get up there. You can use a ladder stand of course, but they’re ungainly to set up and they stand out. Or you can use a climbing stick. You have two basic options.
Types of Climbing Sticks
- Tree Sticks – These are fairly new on the scene. They consist of a central metal tube of a certain length with steps protruding on each side that can be attached to a tree. They come in sections that can be stacked one atop another to reach the desired stand height. They’re light and portable and form a secure and safe ladder that blends with the tree.
- Tree Steps – These are simply ‘Z’ shaped metal steps that screw into a tree much as you see used on telephone poles. They are the most portable option and might be the best choice if you’re putting up a stand far out into the field. You have to make sure they’re securely placed, a loose one can ruin your day.
Now let’s take a look at some of the more popular climbing sticks you can buy today.
- Lone Wolf Climbing Sticks
- Muddy Ascender
- Big Game Quick-Stick
- Summit Bucksteps II
- Muddy Aerolite
1. Lone Wolf Climbing Sticks
These sticks use what the company calls a Versa-Button strap that you can use either left or right-handed to attach or remove the stick. A swivel V-bracket rests against the tree and adjusts to different angles and contours.
The steps can be swiveled to either side of the central tube for versatility and convenience. These sticks weigh in at 2.5 lbs per 32” section and has a max weight capacity of 350 lbs. The set comes with four sections.
2. Muddy Ascender
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These are a good choice in cold and snowy conditions when you might be wearing large, slippery boots as they feature 11” steps for plenty of foot room. Rubber ‘silencers’ on the steps help to eliminate noise from equipment clanking on them during the climb.
The Muddy Ascenders are constructed of steel DXT tubing with a Fiber Guard weather coating. It attaches to the tree with a 1” cam strap. The set comes with five 48” sections for a total of 20’, and the set weighs 33 lbs. Rated to carry 300 lbs max.
3. Big Game Quick-Stick
The light total weight of these sticks make them among the more portable products available, a good option if you want to set them up farther afield. The angled steel-welded steps are an enhancement to safety as they keep your feet close to the central tube and prevent them from slipping off the ends.
This is also one of the more sturdy climbing sticks on the market. The set comes with five sections for a total of 20’. The entire package weighs 20 lbs and can hold a maximum of 300 lbs.
4. Summit Bucksteps II
These climbing sticks use a bit different design that some will find useful They feature a dual-step configuration, meaning two steps are placed at the intervals directly opposite from each other so you can stand in one spot with both feet on the same level, which can be a lot safer if you have to stop mid-climb and rearrange your gear.
The steps are extra-large in size for stable footing. Aluminum construction with cam-strap attachment. V-bars at the top and bottom of each section give firm stability. Four steps in a set give you 16’ of height, at a weight of just 11 lbs, and they are made to hold up to 260 lbs.
5. Muddy Stagger Steps
Stagger Steps are a great packable option, with nesting into each other for easy carrying into your stand. The system comes with 3 step sections, that can be staggered up the tree for ultimate flexibility. The steps are made of tough steel, weighing just 4lbs and painted in a durable and quiet powder coat paint.
The steps attach to the tree trunk with 1″ cam buckles and can support 300lbs. Measuring 31″ tall, you may need to buy 2 sets of steps to reach tree stands sitting 12 feet or higher. They work great on trees 9″ and larger, as well as trees that don’t stand perfectly straight.
Some other nice aspects of these steps are the shape that has generous footholds for those cold days wearing boots. If you hunt public land or just want to hide your tree stands, you can simply remove the lower steps and nobody can reach your stand.
How To Use Climbing Sticks Effectively
Though sticks and steps are pretty straightforward tools, there are a few things to keep in mind to use them effectively, and more importantly, safely.
- Even though they hug the tree and thus have a low profile, it’s a good idea to use some natural camouflage to help them blend in. Vines work well for blending in your climbing sticks.
- Many bow hunters will assemble all the sections, then lean the whole set against the tree, fastening the straps as they climb up.
- Carrying a lot of gear plus a stand can be a recipe for disaster. Consider using a pulley to haul the stand up to height.
- Grease or oil the connections to help lessen creaking while climbing. Make sure not to get any on the steps though.
- This can’t be stressed enough, you need to practice climbing into your tree stand safely wearing all the gear you’ll be carrying on the actual hunt, including your safety harness.
- Have a buddy with you when practicing and setting up your sticks. He can assist if you have trouble, and call the ambulance if you fall off.
*Last updated 2020-10-23 at 01:10 / Product Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API