How to Build Your Own Elevated Deer Hunting Stands

by Mike Schoonveld
Deer don't instinctively look up, so hunting from an elevated stand works well.

Deer don't instinctively look up, so hunting from an elevated stand works well.

Whitetail deer don't instinctively look up to watch for danger. Hunters take advantage of this by positioning stands high up in trees in areas deer are likely to frequent. One of the safest to use, easiest to install and most effective is a ladder stand. A do-it-yourselfer can build one to any desired specifications with common tools and readily available materials, but a 12-foot-high stand with a 30- by 36-inch platform works well for most hunters.

Ladder Construction

  1. Use a circular saw to cut one of the 12-foot 2-by-4s into four lengths of 27 inches each and two lengths of 6 inches each. The 27-inchers are rungs for the ladder. The 6-inchers will attach brace brackets.

  2. Cut the 8-foot 2-by-4 into three lengths of 27 inches each. One of these is the fifth rung of the ladder; the other two will go into construction of the platform.

  3. Measure and mark two of the 12-foot 2-by-4s at 20 inches, 40 inches, 60 inches, 80 inches and 100 inches. These will be the rails of the ladder.

  4. Lay the marked rails on edge, parallel to one another, 27 inches apart. Center a ladder rung on each of the marks. Use a power drill with a screwdriver bit and 3 1/2-inch screws to fasten each of the rungs to the rails.

  5. Attach a 6-inch length of 2-by-4 to the outside of each rail, 24 inches from one end of the ladder, using 3½-inch screws. A short length of screw will protrude from the inside of each rung. Tap these screw ends until they bend flat to the rail or snap off. The end of the ladder with these pieces will be the top.

Platform Construction

  1. Use a circular saw to cut the remaining 12-foot 2-by-4 into 36-inch lengths. Two of these will be platform supports, and two will be brace brackets.

  2. Form the platform framework by setting two 36-inch 2-by-4s on edge, parallel to one another and 27 inches apart.

  3. Insert a 27-inch piece of 2-by-4 between each of the 36-inchers at the ends, forming a rectangle measuring 30 inches by 36 inches, outside diameter.

  4. Fasten the rectangular platform framework together with 3 1/2-inch screws.

  5. Lay the 30-by-36 piece of plywood on the framework and attach it using 2-inch screws.

  6. Drill a 3/8-inch hole 4 inches from the end of one of the 36-inch platform framework boards centered on the 2-by-4. Drill a second hole in the same position on the opposite side of the platform.

  7. Put a flat washer on each of the 3/8- by 2-inch eyebolts. Put the eyebolts through the holes in the platform frame so the threads of the bolts are under the plywood. Put another flat washer on each bolt. Thread the nuts onto the bolts and tighten securely them with a 9/16-inch wrench.

Final Assembly

  1. Insert the top of the ladder into the underside of the platform on the opposite end of the platform from where the eyebolts are attached. The ladder and platform should form a 90-degree angle.

  2. Use one 3½-inch screw to attach through the frame of the platform into the rail of the ladder on each side. Additional screws will go in later.

  3. Lay the ladder and platform on edge. Have a helper hold the platform firmly. Move the bottom of the ladder 18 inches, changing the 90-degree angle formed by the ladder and platform to an obtuse angle.

  4. Lay one of the brace brackets across the 6-inch piece of stock attached to the rail at an angle so the other end of the brace piece crosses the platform framework 2 inches from the eyebolt.

  5. Mark the underside of the brace bracket so the ends of the 2-by-4s can be sawed off at the perfect angle to fit the rail and the platform.

  6. Attach the brace bracket using 3½-inch screws, and add screws to where the ladder attaches to the platform.

  7. Turn the stand over and attach the bracing to the other side of the ladder.

  8. Paint the ladder with dull-colored or camouflaged paint.

Items you will need

  • 30- by 36-inch plywood, 3/4 inch thick
  • 2 pounds 3½-inch wood screws
  • Twenty 2-inch wood screws
  • Circular saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Power drill
  • Screwdriver bit
  • 3/8-inch drill bit
  • Hammer
  • 2 eyebolts, 3/8 inch by 2 inches
  • Four 3/8-inch flat washers
  • Two 3/8-inch hex nuts
  • 9/16-inch wrench
  • Four 2-by-4s, 12 feet long
  • 2-by-4, 8 feet long
  • Paint

About the Author

Mike Schoonveld has been writing since 1989 with magazine credits including "Outdoor Life," "Fur-Fish-Game," "The Rotarian" and numerous regional publications. Schoonveld earned a Master Captain License from the Coast Guard. He holds a Bachelor of Science in wildlife science from Purdue University.

Photo Credits