Is 12 Feet High Enough for a Tree Stand? The Answer May Surprise You

Your tree stand height determines how well you can shoot your bow or gun, so figuring out what height you should use can be confusing and frustrating. 

But it doesn’t have to be! This guide will help you figure out whether 12 feet high is tall enough for your tree stand, plus some extra tips on how to make sure you’re using the right one for your body type and height.

Why 12 Feet Is the Ideal Height

If you’re like most people, your tree stand height will probably vary by season. 

Whether you’re hunting whitetail deer in Kentucky or chasing moose in Alaska, it pays to know how high to make your perch and why that height might change. 

Most archers who hunt from tree stands say they shoot their best when they’re 12 feet off the ground. 

It’s also important to consider what kind of target you’ll be shooting at. Whitetails are relatively small targets and require relatively short shots; moose tend to look big and can tolerate longer distances. 

Either way, as long as your stand is at least 12 feet up (which is ideal), there should be no reason not to have success.

Is 12 Feet High Enough for A Tree Stand

Is 12 Feet High Enough for a Tree Stand

A Guide to Figuring out If You Need a Treestand with Our 12-Foot Rule of Thumb: 

Tree stands are typically used for hunting small game such as squirrels and raccoons, and they offer hunters a unique way to conceal themselves from their targets. 

The problem is, finding a place to set up your tree stand can be difficult because there aren’t any established rules on how high or low you should set up – so we came up with our own. Here’s what you need to know.

There are no hard and fast rules about how high or low you should set up your tree stand, but we’ve found that if you can’t see over 12 feet, it’s unlikely that your targets will be able to see you. 

This is important because most states have laws dictating how high you can hunt, and they don’t tend to allow hunting on footstools. When in doubt, check with local game authorities.

In addition to our 12-foot rule of thumb, there’s also another way you can determine whether your location is appropriate for setting up a tree stand – the three-foot rule of thumb. 

Three-Foot Rule of Thumb: 

This is based on how far away you should be from your target and has been used by hunters for decades; it works especially well when hunting small game such as raccoons that tend to be wary. 

If you want to use it instead of our 12-foot guideline, that’s fine because they’re both pretty similar in terms of how high or low they will set up different stands.

How to Get up There

Once you’ve established how high you need to be, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to get up there. 

There are several ways, including climbing (best if your tree is close), a platform lift (only recommended for trees that are 7–9 feet tall), or an aerial lift (best choice if your tree is 9–15 feet tall). 

The basic rule of thumb is that whatever method you choose should allow you to climb easily back down.

Related: Is 15 Feet High Enough For A Tree Stand

Tips and Tricks

The proper way to use tree stands will depend on what kind of hunting you are doing. If you are just using it to hunt small game, such as squirrels and rabbits, it may be alright to leave it up year-round. 

However, if you will be hunting larger game (deer or elk), or if you have children that might play around your stand, then it would be better to bring it down in the wintertime. 

There are two main things to consider when you hang your tree stand: height and safety. 

To start, make sure that your fall is 12 feet above ground at its lowest point. As we discussed previously, every hunter has their preference when it comes to a climbing height; some people like close contact with the animal they’re after while others prefer distance between them and their prey. 

Also, keep in mind that animals can smell the human scent from miles away; once an animal catches wind of your approach, they’ll be long gone before you get within range. 

At 12 feet above ground level, however, most animals won’t notice until it’s too late.

Safety Concerns

If you’re wondering whether 12 feet is high enough to hang your tree stand, that depends on what type of stand you’re using. 

For example, some stands are designed with ropes or lanyards that make it harder to fall out. If you decide on a lanyard-based stand and you’re over 6 feet tall, climbing at least 12 feet off the ground may be necessary to stay safe. 

The general rule of thumb when considering any hunting gear is: Always err on the side of caution. 

It might not be an exciting way to hunt, but comfort in knowing you made a smart decision beats excitement in an ambulance ride any day!

Related: Is 10 Feet High Enough for a Tree Stand


When purchasing hunting equipment, it’s important to make sure you’re putting safety first. Make sure your stand is high enough so that you can spot approaching the game and low enough to avoid any contact with branches and twigs on your way up. 

Most stands are equipped with adjustable straps, allowing hunters to adjust their height as necessary. 

Finally, remember to follow all state laws when transporting your tree stand. There may be different rules depending on where you live!