I don’t know how many of you hunt from ladder stands. I have four of them here on the farm, and I’m relying on them more and more each year. They are inexpensive ($69.00 at Wally World end of season sale), sturdy, easy to put up, and very safe. I prefer the two man variety to give me enough space to take a grandchild out for a first hunt, or just to have enough room for a backpack, extra clothes, etc. The wider seat on the two man variety also allows for a larger shooting radius with the gun. The two man stands made by Tahsin Industries only have a 12 inch by 40 inch foot platform. When I go to stand up in one, I always feel as though my heels are hanging off the back edge of the platform. While assembling the two stands that I got last year, I decided to make some minor modifications to the platform. I went to Lowes and bought an 8 foot cedar 1 X 6 for each stand. I cut two 40 inch long pieces and split the remaining 16 inch piece in half. The long pieces fit the area behind the foot platform with a ¾ inch gap in between. I affixed the two short pieces to the bottom of the boards using deck screws and drilled a couple of sets of holes to attach the boards to the ladder frame using wire ties. The only reason I wanted to tie the boards down is to keep them from tipping and making noise if I step to one side or the other.
I also decided to come up with a “blind” of sorts to put around my stands. In the past, I’ve used the commercial ladder stand skirts. They attach with wire ties, but doing so means the shooting rail must stay in the down position. That leaves a person standing atop a ladder, attempting to unzip a tiny zipper on a fabric that’s billowing in the wind, then crawling through the opening, and trying to rezip the “door” from the inside. Because the average ladder stand is wider at the shooting rail than at the foot platform, these skirts never get installed very tightly. They snap in the wind like a pennant. The ones that I had also had an unnatural shine to them. The morning sun lit them up like a reflector on a bicycle. So I decided to build lightweight PVC frames, paint them black, and cover them with the camo burlap that I had lying around. The side frames are 4 pieces of ½ inch pipe($2.28 for 10 foot) connected by elbows (.24 each). The front frame got a center brace to keep it from flexing when I use it to raise the shooting bar to get in.