Ironically, winter is one of the best times to scout for deer. Old Man Winter, as harsh as he can be, preserves the deer woods just as it was during the rut, mothballing scrapes, rubs, and trails. Savvy hunters like Stan Potts use this time of year to pinpoint pinch-points, bottlenecks, and other travel corridors and place stands accordingly.


My old metal tree stand had begun to rust and I needed a replacement. I chose the Field & Stream Outpost XL 17-foot ladder stand for its height, sturdy build, seat comfort, and a sand-like coating that doesn’t reflect light. The stand arrived by UPS and I quickly learned that this stand was no lightweight.

The Outpost needed assembly and I learned long ago not to try this in the field. Instead, I used my garage and the bed of my Nissan Frontier as a workbench. Although the upper structure took about two hours to assemble by myself, the directions and packaging were among the best I’ve encountered. Each bolt and nut was sealed in plastic and clearly marked.


Once done, I asked my good friend Dan Monkiewicz for an assist to raise the stand. Choosing the coldest day of the year, we headed for the mountains and had the stand locked in place in quick order. Ironically, ladder-style stands are among the safest of elevated hunting perches, yet can be dangerous to put up. I applaud F&S for their easy-to-read directions and the strapping and reinforcing nature of their stand. We braced the ladder and used the adjustable metal support and reinforcing straps that crossed behind the tree. With Dan holding the ladder firmly at the bottom, I climbed up and cinched the stand tightly against the tree. Simple. But you’ll still want to use the same safety precautions erecting a stand as you would hunting it, including a safety harness and life-lines.


Once done, the stand offers a padded shooting rail and padded arm rests for a very comfortable sit. More importantly, the stand was solid as a rock… not a creak or crack going up or down. Luckily, our deer season stays open until the end of January, so I’ll get to test-drive the stand a couple of times. Thanks to the non-reflective coating on metal parts, the deer won’t notice, yet I can’t wait to try it out.


Here’s a quick summary of the stand’s attributes:

•Outpost XL ladder treestand
•D-Tube construction for reduced flexing; 170% more rigid than standard tubing
•Steel mesh platform fully extends back to tree
•Padded shooting rail with height adjustment flips back to give archers unrestricted shooting lane
•Ergo-Mesh seat with integrated back for day-long comfort
•Seat folds to maximize usable space on platform
•Removable padded armrests and shooting rest
•Removable footrest
•Adjustable ladder stabilizing brace for additional support
•PE coat quick clips for minimized noise
•Includes one color-coded safety harness (green for legs, brown for torso, black for tree)

For more information on the Outpost XL 17′ Ladder stand, visit

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