Looking up from the ground into a tree stand 10 feet high feels like looking up from the bottom of an ocean to the surface of the water.
If you are going to hunt at that height, you might be wondering if it is high enough. I mean, why not build a tree stand 20 feet or 30 feet in the air?
- 10 Feet May Be Okay
- 2 – 3 Sets of Arms Reach (for Sitting and Scoping)
- Height + Wind = Higher
- How Tall Is 10 Feet?
- Shooting Angles (A.K.A. What You See May Not Be What You Get!)
- Look Down / Look Up
- Where to Go Hunting at 10 Feet
- Scope It out – Pre-Season Scouting Goes Beyond the Trail Cam
- The Money Shot
10 Feet May Be Okay
The general rule of thumb is that you should be off your feet (not standing on your tiptoes) when you are in your tree stand.
The only exceptions to that rule are if you are hunting turkeys or waterfowl, but that is not what we are talking about here, so let’s stick with if 10 feet high enough for a tree stand.
A 10-foot ladder stand allows you to get up into a comfortable seated position from which you can see and hunt comfortably.
However, it may not give you enough clearance over a brush to allow room for steadying yourself without getting back down on your knees.
If it doesn’t look like 10 feet will give you enough clearance over low-lying branches, then it might be worth spending an extra $100-$200 to go another few feet higher.
2 – 3 Sets of Arms Reach (for Sitting and Scoping)
The best height for your tree stand is 10 feet. At that height, you’ll be within 2 – 3 arms reach from where you sit and can comfortably use binoculars to scope out the potential game.
If your tree stand is too low, you’ll constantly have to move around on it; if it’s too high, there’s an increased risk of falling or injury.
It may take some time to get used to being so far off the ground, but trust me—10 feet is as safe as it gets when hunting whitetail deer!
Height + Wind = Higher
If you’re using a 10-foot tree stand and live in an area with strong winds, it may not be high enough.
The tree may sway too much as your stand moves back and forth with each gust of wind, making you unsteady.
Ideally, your stand should be at least 12 feet from ground level to platform level. This will give you plenty of room to sit comfortably.
How Tall Is 10 Feet?
The good news is, any tree stand 10 feet high will give you enough room to aim at your target from a distance.
The bad news is, 10 feet might not be tall enough depending on where you’re hunting.
There are different regulations across the country about how tall a tree stand can be to be considered legal.
If you’re unsure of what rules apply to your state or region, check with local authorities before climbing too high into a tree stand.
After all, it doesn’t matter how much meat is dangling from your shot animal if you get slapped with a hefty fine for breaking local laws.
Shooting Angles (A.K.A. What You See May Not Be What You Get!)
When you’re hunting from your tree stand, don’t trust your eyes! If you can see a deer in your scope or binoculars, it doesn’t mean he can see you.
While observing wildlife at any distance, be sure to account for shooting angles when calculating how much of your body is exposed above and around you while sitting in a tree stand.
Shooting angles are affected by trees and other foliage as well as shadows.
You may have a perfect head-on view of an animal, but if his neck or antlers block your shot, those are shooting angles that need to be factored into your plan before you pull the trigger on that trophy buck!
Look Down / Look Up
For some hunters, putting up a tree stand is as simple as finding an appropriate trunk, securing it in place, and climbing up.
However, if you’re an archer looking to draw down on targets from above, you may want to consider your tree stand heights.
Most experienced hunters say that 10 feet are at or near ideal height.
But how do you know if your current setup of choice will work well enough?
Let’s talk about why 10 feet might be your best bet when it comes to hunting trees.
By making sure you understand exactly what goes into determining safe-yet-comfortable tree stand heights, you can ensure that no matter where your main prey hangs out, you have one major advantage over all other hunters: concealment!
And while there are several different things to consider when figuring out how high up is too high, let’s keep it easy with just two. After all, I want to help you make those final preparations before tomorrow morning’s hunt.
Now, even though these two factors relate specifically to bowhunting, they can apply just as easily to gunning from treetops.
The first factor we need to discuss has a direct impact on safety; after all, no matter which type of hunter you are (long-range vs. close-range), nobody wants their shot taken by accident!
When you’re using a crossbow or compound bow, aiming errors aren’t usually much of an issue thanks to sites and built-in riser marks. You can read our article on best ladder stand for crossbow hunting.
Traditionalists who use bows without sight may not enjoy such luxury. You can still aim perfectly. But only if you know exactly how far away your target is.
And if you don’t happen to know offhand, it can get complicated quickly!
Fortunately, though, there’s an easy way to find distance; all you need is a rangefinder with angle compensation capabilities.
These handy devices instantly determine your actual arrow drop regardless of what firing angle you choose, and once you set them properly once (usually something along 1 or 2 degrees), they automatically account for distance and windage each time.
Where to Go Hunting at 10 Feet
There’s a misconception in today’s hunting world that you need to be at least 20 feet off of the ground to be safe.
10 feet is more than enough to ensure your safety on a big game.
Simply put, if you can physically reach 10′ off of the ground without hurting yourself, then you’re in a good spot for hunting.
Even better, most deer stands are built with a 10-12 foot minimum height; if yours isn’t, consider adding steps or a pulley system.
While these products aren’t required by law, they could mean the difference between killing or missing an animal.
You can’t just go anywhere to hunt at 10′. There are certain regulations you need to follow.
For example, you can’t hunt on someone else’s private property without their permission.
You also cannot climb any trees within 150 yards of an occupied home without permission from its owner.
Other requirements like these ensure that all hunters play by fair rules.
Scope It out – Pre-Season Scouting Goes Beyond the Trail Cam
As hunters, we spend lots of time and money preparing for our hunts.
But, did you know there’s no substitute for scouting before you ever pull your gun from its case or even start thinking about shooting a deer?
Before you ever open that gun case, go out into the woods and get to know your hunting area as well as possible.
Scouting can be as simple as walking around your hunting area and looking for rubs and scrapes, or it can mean setting up on your stand during daylight hours to get a feel for deer movement.
But, one thing is certain: if you want to kill more deer and have less stress, scouting before that first season’s hunt is essential.
The Money Shot
Some hunters think that tree stands are best at 10 feet or more, and others think it’s all in their heads. But does height matter when it comes to the harvesting game?
Several factors come into play, including your style of hunting, what kind of tree you’re sitting in, and even your budget.
To determine whether to climb higher or not, start by evaluating all of these aspects individually.
So, is 10 feet high enough for a tree stand? As you can see, it depends on your height and how comfortable you are in that position.
My recommendation would be to use an 11-foot or 12-foot tree stand when hunting alone.
When hunting with someone else, use at least 8-feet tall. If you are not comfortable in any tree stand of less than 11 feet tall, I would recommend that you try one out before purchasing it.
Joseph is the owner of LadderGeek. He is a home remodeling enthusiast. He has created this blog to share some of his knowledge on Ladder and accessories.