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Climbing Sticks For Hunting
The modern hunter has more gear available at his disposal than any time in history. With each passing year our hunting gear seems to get lighter, stronger, safer, and more versatile. All of this helps to increase our enjoyment while also increasing our chances for success. Climbing sticks are no exception to this trend. Due to advancements in engineering and technology climbing sticks have now become the preferred method of tree climbing for many hunters using hang-on type tree stands, replacing the venerable screw-in tree step.
There are several reasons for the surge in popularity of climbing sticks amongst hunters. First and foremost they are considerably safer than tree steps. Climbing sticks offer an increased amount of stability when secured to the tree thus decreasing the chances of falling while climbing up or down from your treestand. Additionally, the even spacing between steps and vertical channels on climbing sticks offer an additional measure of security by providing more surfaces to hold on to while ascending and descending from your tree stand. Another great advantage of the climbing stick is that they do not damage the tree they are used on, which is a must for hunters hunting public land and those who wish to preserve the quality of their trees.
Furthermore, several varieties of climbing sticks provide a more mobile option than screw-in steps or ladder stands. There are now multiple different models of aluminum climbing sticks that pack down tight for quiet transport and can be set up quickly and quietly in a matter of minutes. This gives hunters a virtually limitless amount of options for tree stand placement on the go. For this reason, climbing sticks have become a critical tool in the arsenal of many mobile hunters.
Climbing sticks are available in a variety of configurations to meet the needs of almost every hunter. Well over a dozen companies are now producing climbing sticks so there are more options to choose from than ever before. But how do you decide which climbing sticks are right for you? First, let’s explore the various types of climbing sticks.
Stackable Climbing Sticks & Ladders
The most common type of climbing stick is the stackable type which, when assembled, roughly resembles a ladder. The base of these sticks generally rests on the ground at the bottom of the tree, and the sections are slid into one another and fastened to the tree with either ratchet or cam-style straps. Many of these are commonly referred to as "stick ladders".
A major benefit of the stackable climbing sticks is that they are generally less expensive than their non-stackable counterparts while being extremely safe. In most cases these climbing sticks are made of steel and range anywhere from 20 feet to 30 feet tall when fully assembled. Individual sections are generally about 4 foot in length and weigh between 4 and 8 pounds each depending on brand and configuration. Many of these ladder style climbing sticks are made from steel, although there are a few aluminum models available as well. Stick ladders tend to provide the most safety and security of any climbing method which is why they are the preferred choice of most big game hunting outfitters and guide services.
One drawback to the stackable climbing sticks and ladders is that they are not very portable. In most cases this type of climbing stick is best to be set up before the start of the hunting season and left in place for the duration of your hunt. These climbing sticks can be somewhat louder and more difficult to transport and install than the non-stackable types which can inhibit a mobile hunter's effectiveness when moving in on target animals. Another disadvantage to these climbing sticks is that they cannot be used on trees that are crooked or forked. They work best on straight trees, which of course can limit your options when looking for the perfect tree stand location.
Stacking Climbing Sticks & Ladders Available Models
Summit Swiftree 17 Foot Climbing Sticks
This popular climbing stick offers a unique closed-step design which means your foot cannot slip off the end of the step if it's wet or muddy. For 2010 the steps have been enlarged to accommodate larger insulated boots worn during cold weather hunts. Additionally, the top of each climbing stick section has two steps side-by-side which make the ladder more stable when adding more sections to the top or hanging your treestand. The Swiftree climbing sticks are available in a 17 foot or 22 foot model with a max weight limit of 260 lbs. A set of three steel sections weighs 20 lbs.
Purchase Summit Swiftree Climbing Sticks
Millennium Treestands M200 20 Ft Stick Ladder
The M200 Stick Ladder from Millennium Treestands features an exclusive anti-slip step that is designed to reduce the overall weight of the ladder while providing increased traction. Extra long cam straps make it easy to attach the M200 to larger diameter trees. The M200 weighs 17 lbs, supports up to 300 lbs, and comes in five 4 foot sections for a max height of 20 feet.
Purchase Millennium Treestands M200 20 Ft Stick Ladder
Ol' Man Outdoors 20 Foot Surefoot Stick Ladder
The Ol' Man Stick Ladder features steps on both sides of the ladder at all step points, versus alternating sides of the ladder like most models. This feature offers additional standing and grabbing surfaces for the hunter which helps to increase safety and ease of use. The included ratchet straps allow you to secure the ladder tightly to the tree for an additional measure of safety. Each steel section weighs 3.4 lbs and the Surefoot ladder has a max weight rating of 250 lbs.
Purchase Ol' Man Outdoors Stick Ladder
Non-Stackable Climbing Sticks
The second type of climbing stick, favored by many mobile hunters, attaches to the tree in individual sections that do not interlock. In most cases this type of climbing stick is made from aluminum in order to be lighter in weight, easier to transport, and easier to install on the go. Most models use a cam-style strap to attach to the tree, however a new model by Muddy Outdoors uses a buckle-less rope system that is completely silent.