Setting up ladder stands by yourself can be a chore, especially if the stand is more than 15 feet tall. The bottom nearly always slides as you attempt to walk the top-heavy ladder up the tree.
The trick is to stake down the bottom rung of the ladder so it won’t slide. I am 71 years old, and have safely used the following method for years.
Here’s what I do:
I use a 3 foot piece of rebar (4 to 6 inch wide) and bend it into a U shape. It ends up quite long and narrow.
To raise your ladder stand, first make sure all obstructions between the ladder and tree are removed, then lay the ladder facedown. With the feet about 60 inches from the base of the tree, use a hammer to stake down the bottom rung with the U stake.
You could go ahead and raise the ladder without the bottom sliding, but I like to tie two straps or rope to each side of the ladder first, about a third of the way down from the seat.
These straps are about as long as the ladder is tall. I use them to temporarily secure the top of the ladder to the tree until I can climb up and ratchet the seat to the tree.
After the temporary ropes are attached, I raise the stand and walk it up until the seat sits against the tree. The stake has acted like an extra set of hands, allowing the bottom rung to rotate but not slide.
If your ladder stand has leg braces, install them now to roughly secure the stand, then remove the stake.
Now climb partially up and cross the two straps around the back of the trunk. Pull them as tightly and as high as you can, then tie them off.
The ladder should now be secure enough for you to safely climb to the top and ratchet the stand’s seat to the tree.
I hope this tip helps hunters like me who often have to put up ladder stands all by themselves.