In most situations, the easiest and most effective way to hunt deer is from an elevated tree stand. And if you've got a spot where you know you'll be hunting for years to come, you can't beat a homemade wooden tree stand for comfort and convenience. You won't have to worry about setting up the stand at the start of the hunt or taking it down and lugging it back to the truck at the end of the hunt. If you take your time and do a good job building the stand and securing it to the tree, you can count on hunting out of that stand for years--and maybe decades--to come.
Lay out the two 16-foot 2-inch-by-4-inch boards on a flat surface 18 inches apart. Those will serve as the legs of your ladder. Gather the 10 18-inch pieces of 1-inch-by-4-inch boards, which will serve as the ladder rungs. Starting 18 inches from the bottom, place the first 1-inch-by-4-inch board flat across the legs of the ladder, flush at both ends. Put two screws into each side. Repeat every 18 inches. Do not put a rung at the very top of the ladder.
Screw four 3-foot sections of 2-inch-by-4-inch boards together to form a square, with the two side beams running in between the front and back beams. That will be the frame for your platform. Measure nine inches in from either side, and place the remaining two 3-foot lengths of 2-inch-by-4-inch boards running vertically from front to back. Those will serve as center support beams and there should be exactly 18 inches between them.
Lay the nine 3-foot sections of 1-inch-by-4-inch boards horizontally across the top of your platform frame. Put two screws in each at either end and at each of the two vertical support beams, for a total of eight screws in each plank.
Bring the ladder, the platform and the remaining materials into the woods at your chosen stand location. Select a tree between 18 and 30 inches in diameter.
Place the platform on its side and slide the top of the ladder underneath the front of the platform, so that the top of the ladder legs fit snugly against the two center support beams on the platform. The ladder should be perpendicular to the platform or at a slight angle outward toward the bottom.
Use a 1/2-inch bit to drill a pilot hole going through the rung and the beam on either side. Using the ratchet, place a 4-inch hex bolt, ½-inch in diameter, through each side, securing it on the back with a washer and a nut.
Run a 6-foot 2-inch-by-four-inch board from the back end of each center support beam back to each ladder rung, also securing them with hex bolts. Those braces further secure the platform to the ladder.
Raise the stand up against the tree so that the platform is level and the base of the ladder has firm footing on the ground. Another person or two will be needed to help raise the stand. Use an extension ladder to secure the back beam of the platform to the tree with three lag bolts. Begin by drilling a pilot hole in the center of the board with a 3/8-inch bit. Then with a ratchet, screw a ½-inch diameter lag bolt through the board and into the tree. Add additional lag bolts on either side of center, angled toward the center of the tree.
Run a 6-foot 2-inch-by-four-inch board from a spot around the middle of the left ladder leg to the tree, securing it to the ladder with a single hex bolt and to the tree with at least two lag bolts. Do the same on the right side of the ladder.
- When hunting on private land, get permission from the landowner before building a permanent wooden stand. On public land, check the regulations. Many properties do not permit permanent stands.
- Always where a safety harness when hunting from an elevated stand.
- Never climb the ladder with a loaded weapon. Raise the unloaded weapon to the platform with a string or rope.
- If you will be using the stand primarily for gun hunting, consider building rails around the perimeter of the platform. This provides an extra level of safety and the rails can also be used as shooting rests.
- whitetail buck image by Bruce MacQueen from Fotolia.com