Whitetail deer have amazing eyes. In the wild, keen eyesight can mean the difference between life and death, and Nature has fine-tuned a deer’s vision for predator detection and evasion.
Fooling those sharp whitetail eyes is tricky. They have a field of view of approximately 310 degrees and the whitetail brain processes visual information at lightning speed, making them incredibly sensitive to movement.
Best Tree Stands 2019
How is a hunter supposed to beat those eyeballs? It isn’t easy, but a good tree stand or hunting blind can help. One gets you up and out of a big buck’s direct line of vision. The other offers concealment when you can’t climb a tree.
When it comes to hunting whitetails, most outdoorsmen agree a tree stand or ground blind is an essential piece of hunting gear. New advancements in design and technology have made deer stands stronger, lighter, and safer than ever before. Many deer stands also cater to hunter comfort, and since you’ll be spending an awful lot of time in them, that’s definitely a good thing.
Your hunting style will largely influence which deer stand is best for you. However, here are some of our 2019 top picks to get you started.
Best Ground Blinds This Year
Browning Phantom X Ultimate Ground Blind
One of the drawbacks to hunting in a ground blind is they typically limit your field of view. The Browning Phantom X solves this problem by providing 360 degree viewing. It also features a unique Silent-Trac window system and curtain style viewing areas, so you can spot deer coming from any direction
Made from 100 percent brushed polyester fabric, this blind is built to reduce noise and light reflection. The Phantom X helps keep you well-hidden with a blacked-out backing, Realtree camo, and brush loops. As an added benefit, the “blind skirt” helps trap human scent so you can fool deer noses as well as their eyes.
Ameristep Caretaker Kick-Out
This high-quality ground blind from Ameristep is comfortable, spacious, and ideal for hunting with a partner. The Caretaker Kick-Out offers has plenty of legroom and incorporates two “kick-out” sections perfect for keeping extra gear out from under foot.
The “kick-outs” also give a more natural, organic shape to the blind, allowing it to blend in with background. Brush loops allow you to add local foliage to further break-up the silhouette, and the shoot-through mesh windows allow you to stay concealed, even when you make your shot, although the windows open noiselessly with one swift movement.
Tree Stands vs. Ground Blinds: What’s Best for Deer Hunting
Before we jump into some of the best tree stands on the market right now, we wanted to cover a topic that’s discussed often amongst hunters.
What’s better for deer hunting, a tree stand or a ground blind?
This isn’t just personal preference. Both work exceptionally well, with each offering benefits the other cannot. Tree stands allow the hunter to get into the air concealing movement, where as ground blinds can be placed in areas a tree stand cannot.
For an all day sit, I love a ground blind or an enclosed tripod style stand. You’re going to be moving more, pouring coffee and eating lunch (if you’re that guy, I know I sure am) in the stand so you might as well cover your movement.
For incredible remote areas, a climbing tree stand is bar none the best option. It’s not really fair to say which is better, for sure, but rather it’s easier to ask: what’s your hunting situation?
Best Climbing Tree Stands Of All Time
Choosing the best climbing tree stand for the money should start with one thing: weight. Let’s face it, you’re using a climber tree stand if you’re going into and out of hard to reach areas. The last thing you want is to expend all your energy carrying in a 70 lb climber stand.
I personally use the Summit Viper SD stand and absolutely love it. It’s on the more expensive end of climbers, but it does everything I need it to and then some.
Summit Viper SD
A true sit down stand up climber tree stand, the Summit Viper line has been around for some time.
And just like the Ford F-150 or the Chevy 1500, it’s been around for good reason. The Summit Viper series is one of the best climbing tree stands, of all time.
Improving their high-quality climbing stands each year, Summit”s stands are not stronger and lighter than ever. The Summit Viper comes in two variations, the Elite SD, which features a closed front, and the open Specialist SD for bowhunters who want plenty of maneuverability.
Both are incredibly lightweight (the Specialist weighs in at 16 pounds and the Elite at 17) and made from sturdy, high-tech aluminum tubing with Dead Metal sound deadening technology. Backpack straps are included to help you hike this thing to your chosen hunting location. Once there, the Quickdraw cable retention system and ergonomically designed Rapid Climb stirrups help you climb trees with ease.
Summit Viper SD Specs
• Closed-front aluminum climbing stand
• Suspended foam-padded seat with backrest in Mossy Oak® Break-Up Infinity camo
• Weighs 20 lbs. and holds up to 300 lbs.
• 20” W x 36″ L foot platform frame size
• 22.50” W x 37.50” L seat frame size
• 18” W x 12” L bottom seat area, 12” W x 20″ H back of seat area
The stand comes with a harness and necessary hardware.
Lone Wolf Hand Climber “Combo” II
Perfect for hiking to remote locations or through thick woods, the Lone Wolf Hand Climber folds down to a 5-inch packed profile. Even though this climbing stand offers plenty of foot room (the platform measures 30″ x 19.5″) and comfortably supports 350 pounds of hunter and equipment, the whole thing weighs only 17 ½ pounds.
Best Hang On Treestands
Summit Featherweight Switch Hang On Stand
The beauty of a climbing treestand is you can use the same stand to hunt multiple locations. It was once impossible to get this kind of versatility without having multiple Hang On stands set up in multiple locations. Summit fixes this problem with the Featherweight Switch Hang On Stand and Switch Receiver mounting bracket. The bracket attaches directly to the tree to support your stand and allows you to easily move the stand to any tree already outfitted with Switch Receivers.
While the Switch Receivers are the big selling point for this system, the stand itself is pretty impressive. It holds up to 300 pounds, despite its featherweight 17 pound construction. It also easily adjusts to accommodate crooked trees, has a comfortable and quiet padded seat, and the platform has plenty of room.
Millennium Treestands M150 Monster
When it comes to making high-quality treestands, Millennium has tons of experience under their belt. The M150 Monster is our favorite model in the company lineup, because it is packed with features. The ComfortMax seat is as comfortable as its name implies, but it’s also height adjustable to accommodate hunters of all shapes and sizes. The seat also folds up, giving bowhunters extra room when positioning for a shot. However, with a spacious platform that measures 24” x 30”, they probably won’t need that extra room.
The M150 Monster is also highly adjustable to ensure you sit level in even the crookedest trees, and it comes with a full body harness for safety.
Best Ladder Stands
Millennium Treestands L366
All Millennium deer stands are high quality, but we’re extra excited about their new L366 Ladder Stand. It features Millennium’s plush ComfortMax seat that folds up for standing shots, but also rotates a full 360 degrees so you’ll be ready to shoot that monster buck no matter where he shows up.
Rivers Edge Two-Man Bowman Ladder Stand
We absolutely love this buddy stand. Rather than placing hunters side by side, the Bowman Ladder Stand has a unique V-shaped platform that puts both hunters tight against the tree. This configuration also provides a little extra elbow room and allows each hunter to watch a different section of woods, making it harder for that big buck to sneak up and catch you unaware.
Our Favorite Tripod Stands
Millennium T 366 Tripod Stand
You shouldn’t be surprised our top tripod stand also comes from Millennium Treestands. If you can’t tell, we really love Millennium’s ComfortMax seat. You’ll be spending hours in your deer stand and the ComfortMax seat is easy on your hind parts, plus it flips up easily to get out of the way and rotates 360 degrees. This tripod stand is basically the Millennium Ladder Stand, but for areas that lack mature trees.
X-Stand Alcatraz Tripod
Despite its name, the Alcatraz Tripod feels nothing like a prison cell. Instead, it is extra roomy and bulges at the center to give bowhunters plenty of room to draw their weapon. The Alcatraz also features shoot-through windows on its lower half that are set at the perfect angle for making those difficult straight down shots. Meanwhile, the upper windows are perfect for straight out shots, just like a traditional blind.
The Alcatraz Tripod also has a peaked roof that sheds rain and snow, so you’ll stay warm and dry no matter what weather Mother Nature decides to throw your way.
A good deer stand, whether it’s a treestand, tripod, or ground blind, helps you become invisible in the woods. When it comes to hunting whitetails, that invisibility is key to success. Each deer stand we’ve mentioned here will help you disappear in the woods. Now all you need to do is decide where to put them. Hopefully when you reappear, you’ll come back with a big buck and a good story to tell.