The typical outdoorsman will simply take a trip to the local Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shop, and purchase a tree stand to improve his hunting vantage points. For those who are prepping for long-term survival in the wilderness, a tree stand could potentially save their lives in certain situations and even provide shelter in a pinch.
Tree stands made for long-term survival will have to be built from scratch to not only blend into its surroundings, but also contain features specific to the locale and situation.
No matter what you plan to use your tree stand for, building it will require some universal tools and a few specialty ones depending on your final goal. One general characteristic of all tree stands is that it needs to be anywhere from 25 to 30 off the ground.
You will be working at heights that can cause severe injury (or even death) in the event of a fall. Practice all safety precautions when building your tree stand. Consider renting an extension ladder to make the job easier and more efficient. It will provide easy access to the lumber and tools necessary for construction. You’ll have the opportunity to build your main tree stand and a secondary one with the time and energy you’ll save.
Lumber can be had for cheap if you exercise a little due diligence. Locate small lumberyards online and speak with the manager or owner in-person. Show up with your truck and cash, so they know you’re serious about getting a deal done. There’s a good chance the yard has a few distressed bundles of wood that are infested with bugs or may have been returned by unhappy customers for whatever reason.
The bug problem is easily remedied by freezing the wood or sealing it in plastic for a month or two. Some yard managers may even give you the lumber for free just to get rid of it.
The Tree House
Keep in mind, not all tree stands have to be attached to a tree. One blogger referred to a 20-foot freestanding model as “The Condo.” The small dwelling with a roof and enough space to sleep, sits atop stilts made of pressure-treated wood. For good measure, the stand is secured by four-feet-deep mobile home anchors. This ensures a sturdy climb, and the ability to withstand high winds.
A tree stand like this will take time and a little more money to build. Pick up a book on how to build children’s tree houses. The plans are very similar for building a dwelling-type tree stand, and of course will emphasize safety because children will ultimately be playing in it. Once completed, you have instantly created yourself a place to locate and hunt deer, a look-out tower, and even a shelter in the event of catastrophic flooding.
A tree may appear perfect for building your stand in the summer. But come autumn, all of its leaves will fall off, leaving your tree stand completely exposed. A simple, inexpensive way to handle this is by locating an oak, beech or evergreen tree. These species hold their leaves longer as temperatures drop come late September.
Cut limbs from these trees and attach them to the naked limbs of the tree your stand is located. Use zip ties to attach them. If your tree doesn’t have many limbs, attach flag brackets to the tree and let the limbs hang from them. This will keep your tree stand hidden from animals and will also disguise it from other people.
A store-bought tree stand will suffice for those taking the occasional deer hunting trip. But a little extra effort is necessary for long-term solutions.
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