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What's up? Treestand manufacturers continue the evolution of their craft.

REMEMBER THE SWEDE Seat? Back in the early '70s when Bowhunter Magazine got its start, a small company out of Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, manufactured a primitive bicycle-like seat that either screwed into or strapped onto a tree. Back in those days, bowhunters didn't have all the choices they have today. The lightweight, easy-to-pack Swede Seat made for a quick and mobile stand, at ground level or up in the branches.

Then, in the spring of '72, came the Profane Tree Stand from Baker Manufacturing in Valdosta, Georgia. Later improved and marketed as The Baker Tree Stand & Hand Climber/Seat. this stand featured a chair-like platform with an aluminum frame and plywood base, and it was billed as "THE ONLY STAND THAT CLIMBS!" Directions for the stand noted that, "... the hunter puts his feet into toe and heel straps. Climbing is achieved by hugging the tree and lifting the device with the feet and resetting it higher on the tree. Once at the desired height, the hunter turns around on the platform and stands or sits to wait for game." Though The Baker was a far cry from today's sophisticated and super-safe climbing stands, for less than $40, a hunter now had a moveable stand that got him into the treetops.

By the late'70s, Baker had an entire line of climbers, and while quite a few bowhunters were hugging trees, the company was no longer alone. A garage-shop industry had developed, and stand builders were finding all sorts of ways to get hunters up and out of a whitetail's line of sight. Ranging from the wedge-style Lawson's Pocket Treestand at less than $10, to the all-aluminum Loc-On LEM hang-on at $44.50, the Woodland Hunting Equipment Company's 15' ladder at $53.95, and C&F Products' cam-lock buckle strap-on Master Hunter Stand at $70, hunters had quite a few choices.

Remember hang-on stands from Ron's Porta-Pak; Belke's; Troth's; the Pennsy Portable, with its unique steel-mesh platform; the Bowhunter's Companion; Patsco aluminum; or well-known Loc-On LEM?

Or, how about W.C. Phillips' Ambusher Auto-Lock Pole Stand, Impact industries Crow's Nest ladder, Hunters Equipment Manufacturing's first tripod, or Archery Engineers' Sniper three-piece aluminum ladder?

Then there were climbers like Vic Berger's unique Easy Up, which "climbed" via a rope ladder system; Raulf Archery Supplies' Redken Climber; the Buck-Buster; Total Shooting System's Tree Mate; The Tree-Lounge; and Warren & Sweat "Self-Climbers;" as well as those from Amacker Products.

By the early 1980s, most of today's basic stand designs had been developed, but it would be up to real engineers to raise treestand design to the next level. Many of the companies covered below got their start in the '80s, survived the challenges of the '90s, and are now thriving. As you review this year's innovative offerings, take note of how companies continue to refine and adapt stands, using elements from different stand designs and making them safer and more hunter-friendly. Without a doubt, this year's stands are more imaginative and specialized than ever before. If you've got a whitetail hot spot, chances are you'll find a special stand here that will work just right. Read on to find out what's up with treestands this year.

1) AMERISTEP

Ameristep, a Michigan company that started with a single, quality tree step but now offers a tremendous variety of hunting products, is celebrating its 15th Anniversary with the introduction of a towering 22' ladder stand called the Team Realtree Skyscraper. The Skyscraper secures to the tree via Ameristep's remarkable new Backbone Truss Tech System, which replaces traditional stabilizer bars that secure most ladders. With the patent-pending Backbone, the truss stabilizer strap quietly draws the ladder tighter to the tree as the hunter climbs. This revolutionary truss system has also been applied to the entire line of Ameristep and Grizzly ladders and tripods. The Skyscraper also features a lightweight, durable design with other features like 37.8" x 28" platform with a rubber-lined trapdoor for easy installation and quiet entry, detachable seat frame for easy setup, padded armrests with cup holders, and a narrow, less-obtrusive ladder design. New this year on the Non-Typical Treestand line are The Avenger hang-on stand (all aluminum, just 10 lbs.) and The Dream deluxe climber flip-up seat. New on the Grizzly line are the Speed Climber (features adjustment for tree diameter without disconnecting) and The Edge II (solid platform with cam-lock brace system).

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2) API OUTDOORS

Over the years, this company has been a true leader in innovation and quality. API continues to design and manufacture outstanding climbers, hang-ons, ladders, and tripods, as well as a full offering of stand accessories. This year API has introduced new Alumi-Tech and Ultra-Steel product lines. If you're looking to get a young person started, you might take a look at the 15' Ultra-Steel Deluxe Ladder Stand, which features a comfy 20" x 15" padded seat in Realtree AP camo, padded armrests, adjustable shooting bar, and footrest. Expert hunters, on the other hand, will want to check out the precision-crafted AlumiTech Bowhunter Climber, a luxury climber featuring API's patented power gripping chains. It's available in two models, Standard (20 lbs. and rated at 300) and Magnum (21 lbs. and rated to 350).

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3) BIG DOG TREESTANDS

This complete line treestand manufacturer, which not too long ago introduced fixed-position stands with unique teardrop-style platforms (the Big Dog has a huge 23.5" x 29" base and sling-style seat with back and armrests), has taken the concept one step further with new Stadium platforms in both hang-ons and ladders. The 15' Stadium Series ladders, with wraparound seats and platforms, come in four models: BDL-1000, 1050, 2000, and 2050. Platforms range from 53.5" x 19.5" on the BDL-1000 and 1050, to 65" x 32" on the BDL-2000 and 2050. These stands feature all-steel construction, fully pinned double ladder sections, a variety of seat and armrest configurations, and even Camo Blinds on the BDL-1050 and 2000 models. Also new this year is the Stadium Series hang-on stand, BDL-500, and the 20' BDL-350 ladder stand, which features strong, double-tube ladder sections and a wide Double Base Stabilizer for a sturdy seat at ground level.

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4) BIG GAME TREESTANDS

A mainstay in box, tripod, and ladders since the late '70s, Big Game Treestands offers a new 20', two-person ladder called The Sky-Rise, and a 360-degree swivel ladder stand called The Revolution. The Sky-Rise features steel construction, a solid double rail ladder in four sections, a ratchet strap and stabilizer strap fastening system, a wide 40" x 14" platform and two cushioned seats with backrests, and a padded shooting bar. A Big Buddy Blind (skirt with zipper door) is optional. This stand is rated to 500 lbs. The Revolution is a steel, single-rail ladder topped with a roomy swivel platform (36" diameter) that turns. The stand is 16' to the padded shooting rail and features a backrest seat with sling-style support for all-day comfort. Big Game Treestands also offers Boss hang-ons and Quick Sticks and Steps.

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5) GORILLA, INC.

The busy engineers at Gorilla have designed seven new stands for '07, including two all-aluminum climbers, the ProSeries Greyback Deluxe Hunter and Greyback Elite; two hangons, the Pro-Series Kong and King Kong; two steel ladders, the Kong and Kong MX2; and a new quadpod stand, the Field Edge Pod. This year's impressive climbers incorporate a few exciting new technical features, including pivoting Gorilla Grip cable arms that adjust to the tree as you're climbing, a super comfortable zero-G suspended cushion seat, and a great new textured camo called Timberscape2. Both climbers weigh around 20 lbs., have 18" x 30" platforms, and have padded climbing bars with two detachable gear bags. The Greyback Deluxe Hunter has a two-position shooting bar. Both of the new Pro-Series Kong hang-on stands also feature roomy platforms and lounger-style zero-G seats with back and armrests. The new ladders feature all-welded steel construction, pinned post and socket connections, an Anti-Sink Tamping Bar at the base for stability, and cam buckle and ratchet straps for security. The luxury Kong MX2 is 16' high, has a 17.5" x 21" platform, a zero-G seat, and a padded shooting bar. The 15' Kong Ladder is similar but more basic with a poly-cotton sling seat. The new 9' Field Edge Pod has a simply massive 39" x 39" platform, and for the ultimate in comfort, a high back seat that rotates 360 degrees.

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6) LOGGY BAYOU

One of the best-known names in climbing treestands (see their latest Mega Transformer and Stalker XL climbers), Loggy Bayou now builds superb hang-on stands and ladders. New this year in 18' and 21' models are the Bowhunter Ladder and the Big Daddy Ladder. Both stands feature single-rail, tapered steel ladders (lighter and more easily hidden by tree trunks) that snap and lock together without pins or bolts. The platform size on the Bowhunter Ladder is a roomy 24" x 18", and the seat flips up out of the way, as does the padded, micro-adjustable shooting bar. While the Big Daddy's platform is slightly smaller, it has a 24" wide sling-style seat with backrest, perfect for those long waits. These stands weigh 60 and 65 lbs., and are weight-rated to 300 lbs.

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7) LONE WOLF

Lone Wolf has a legacy of producing super stealthy stands that bowhunters love. The new one-piece cast-aluminum Assassin, billed as "the world's first micro-platform" weighs less than 6 lbs. and measures 18" x 14". With a distinctive 3-D camo design and nifty fastening and platform leveling systems, you'll have a hard time finding a spot where this stand won't fit. Match it with a tree-sling-type seat, and the Assassin becomes a dandy little hunting package. It's rated to 250 lbs. Lone Wolf's new Omega Ladder is another eye opener. Built on a unique 16' aluminum ladder with four sliding segments that remain connected and lock into place (even stack for easy packing), this stand has a roomy 36" x 24" platform topped with a comfortable seat for long days on stand. Independently adjustable feet sturdy the ladder on uneven terrain. As a bonus, you can use the top platform as a hang-on (Elite) by disengaging the ladder. The Omega Ladder is rated to 350 lbs.

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8) RIVERS EDGE TREEESTANDS

This well-known manufacturer of ladder stands has seven new versions for '07, including the 15' Alpine and Alpine Extreme, 17' Jackpine and Jackpine Extreme, 15' Double Action and Double Action Extreme two-man ladder stands, and the 17' Double Shot Dual Direction Extreme. All of the ladders feature sturdy, welded tubular steel construction with full mesh platforms; dual ratchet strap tree mounting with safety tie-off ropes; and an adjustable stabilizer bar. Most have durable, padded seats, armrests, and shooting bars. The Alpine ladders feature a tapered Stealth Ladder design for better concealment. The Jackpine stands offer more height and a wide ladder stance (20"). The Double Action side-by-side, two-man stands have a generous 38" x 12" platform and are rated to 500 lbs. The Double Shot Dual Direction stand is tremendously versatile. With a spacious 40" x 36" platform; comfortable bench-style seat with gear pockets; and two padded, flip-up shooting bars, this is a great stand to share with a partner. Rivers Edge also makes the popular Big Foot series of hang-on stands, as well as the Timber Claw Climber and Outpost Ladder Pod.

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9) SUMMIT TREESTANDS

This perennial leader in treestand innovation offers a variety of new-and-improved stands for '07. While Summit made its name with climbers, in recent years the company has developed some of the industry's best hang-on stands and ladders, and they've extended their expertise to hybrid ladders and tripods. New this year is the Double X-Pod, taking the X-Pod's ladder-stand-without-a-tree concept to a new level. This 9' free-standing steel pod features two individually adjustable, sling-style seats with back and armrests, and a roomy 44.5" x 18.5" platform, so you can spend all day aloft with a hunting partner. And you can hunt a spot where no good stand trees exist. If you need a free-standing, 360-degree hunting platform for looking over brushy openings, consider Summit's new Trophy Pod. This 8' steel/aluminum tripod is topped with a 7" wide platform all the way around and has a fully cushioned swivel seat with padded back, armrests, and shooting bar. Summit also has upgraded stands like the new Ultimate Viper SS (with fully adjustable shooting bar, surround seat, platform comfort mat, and a custom camo blind in Next G1 Camo) and the Summit 180-degree Max SS (hunters sitting in the comfy, reversible seat have two more inches of shoulder space, making it Summit's best climber for big hunters). Here's another bonus for you... Bucksteps are now available in value-packed steel!

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10) T-BUCK

Launched at this year's Archery Trade Show in Atlanta, Georgia, The Total Buck System is available in 15' and 20' ladders. Modular in design, this remarkably-well-thought-out system offers hunters flexibility and safety. And, it's just plain neat. According to the manufacturer, proper use of the accompanying Full Body Harness with Hook & Climb tethers allows the hunter to be attached to the ladder at all times..."the First Step, Every Step" Key components of the system include heavy duty, welded-steel ladder sections (5') that install quickly with snap button pins, independently adjustable ladder feet (for uneven ground), and an X-Bracket brace that provides a solid connection to the tree. Once the stand is in place, the large 39" x 31" T-Buck Platform is pulled into place with the use of an amazing trolley system and patent-pending latching mechanism. Hunters climb through the platform via a 20" x 24" trapdoor. The entire system is powder-finished and coated with T-Black non-reflective surface, and steps and platform are engineered with raised T-Tread cutouts for better traction. A variety of seats, shooting bars, blinds, bow holders, and other accessories are available.

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11) TROPHYLINE

The Tree Saddle is a great secret weapon for those tough-to-hunt spots. It's available in four models: The Ambush Saddle, Camo Saddle, Road Trips Saddle, and Realtree Saddle. The Stealth Seat is designed to cradle you and creates no pressure points to cut off circulation, and the ElasTEC Upper Body Harness is designed to move with your body. The 7' Safety Assist Strap helps you climb, hook-up, and descend. The Road Trips Saddle has a suede leather seat, and the Team Realtree version has a brushed, water-resistant neoprene shell and comes in Realtree's new AP camo. Various accessories are available. How many stands weigh just 4 lbs. and can be crammed behind the seat of your truck?

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Title Annotation:GEAR SPECIAL 2004: TREESTANDS
Author:Waring, Jeff
Publication:Bowhunter
Date:Jul 15, 2007
Words:2447
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