Tree stand help.

All. Just wanted some input. I’ve always hunted out of ladder stand but would like to be just a little higher. Is it safe to add another ladder section with an extra support. Or am I better to switch over to sticks and a lock on?
How high you trying to go?

Reason I ask is there are some ladders that go to 20-5 ft.

Sportsman’s Guide sells them I do believe.
Have you considered a climber? Not a perfect substitute, but if you know your deer are far enough away and you've got a little cover noise, you can shimmy up a prepped tree quickly and quietly.

I will often leave mine attached to a tree if I'm hunting for 3-4 days. I may not sit it a second time, but if I do, it doesn't need to be carried in, unpacked, attached, you get the picture. Once you have a network of trees and trails made, it's not too big a deal.
I don't know how old, nimble and fit you are, but transitioning from steps into a lock-on can be a hairy experience. And a lock-on doesn't have that "enclosed" feel while you are sitting there. Just some things to consider. I won't hunt out of a lock-on.

Back to your original question, I think it's safe to extend if the manufacture of your stands has extensions to fit and it adds another horizontal bar from the stand to tree.

In the big picture, new stands are relatively cheap compared to a hospital bill or falling to your death.
I’ve seen those. Problem is I have a handful of the field and stream stands already.
I've thought of it as well. I would GUESS that if the ladder section is the same as the ladder you are adding onto it shouldn't be a big deal to add one to it.

Most sections are about 3-4 feet so if you have one that is 15 ft to the rail and you add another section you'd be at 18-20 ft. Personally if you also added a 2nd support to tree rail I'd think you'd be fine.

BUT if you try it and you have an accident it's all on you for doing so, I'm NOT an engineer nor do I try to play one on the forum.
I would go with a climber or a hawk hang on with sticks but really I have never seen a reason in being over 15ft and have killed a ton of deer lower or on the ground in last 45 years,wear you safety gear no matter how high but those heights are deadly for sure
If you switch to a lockon and sticks, be sure to employ a linemans belt when hanging. Using it for the first time this year, and sure it’s a bit safer, but more importantly it’s sooo much easier than struggling to keep one arm around the tree. I use it along with a light rock climbing harness, and I can get set up quickly, quietly without getting all sweaty and exhausted. I’m also using light sticks (muddy pros) and a super light stand (millenium microlite) so it’s not a huge deal putting it up and tearing down every hunt. Ladders are ok, but portable sticks and lockon give you the most flexibility.

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If you’re wanting more cover, it would be easier to add some artificial cover to the ladders you now have. Artificial Xmas trees or plastic plants will work, as will some fresh cut cedar branches. I use cedar or pine branches to camo up my tripods and the tallest is 17’ to the seat.

IMO, the higher you are the more your vital area shrinks if you’re bow hunting. I’ve never needed more than the 17 footer and have killed several deer from 12’ tripods.
All I will say (being an engineer) is that no manufacturer is going to promote the use of their product beyond what it was designed to do. The liability simply is far too great.

You don't think an extra 3 or 5 feet is a lot..... Ever use a "cheater pipe" over the handle of a wrench to get that stubborn bolt loose? Same concept. The thing is....the "cheater pipe" we want the additional force.....when you are 15 or 20 feet in the air.....that extra bit of force could mean the difference in how you come out of the woods that day!

Budget in a new stand every year (I get mine on clearance after the holidays) and put as many things in your favor as possible of walking out of the woods vs being carried out!
I know people who have extended ladder stands with an extra brace to the tree as well and didn't have any trouble with them buckling. But I couldn't on a clear conscience advise anyone to do that. Like has been mentioned, hospital bills, widows, and quadriplegics would say it's nowhere near worth it.
It depends; If you weigh 125 lbs versus 280 lbs the answer would be different. Normally I eliminate one section to make up for possible defects and I don't weigh all that much either. Height is not as important as having a great back screen and some under screen as well. I've not seen twenty-five feet be any better scent wise than fifteen ft.
Brace it and have at it. That's what I've done to get up to 20 feet. That is PLENTY high enough.
I tend to see stand height as an issue when the tree I want to use sits lower than the area where I expect to see the deer. This is effect reduces the stand height and gives you an exposed feeling. Some back cover can help, but feeling like your only 5 or 10 feet off the ground can be a little uncomfortable from a deer hunting perspective. I tend to go with a hang-on or climber in those situations if I can. If you add back cover - fasten it to the tree and NOT your stand. I pull saplings up into trees all the time to do this. Just fasten to the tree with rope or straps.
Ever thought of using a tree saddle? Climbing methods are endless, really up to you to decide between sticks, screw in steps, bolts, SRT, Spurs etc.

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