There is nothing like hunting from a strategically placed hang-on stand, nestled discretely into a limbed tree, well hidden from your quarry. When combined with a gun rest and a comfortable seat for all day viewing, your chances of seeing game go up considerably.
I like to have several stand sites such as this around my hunting area well ahead of the season. When it comes time to get into the stand, I am not scurrying up the tree like a 200-pound squirrel and I don't have to carry my stand over my back.
That being said, hang-on stands are generally not as comfortable as climbers, which have built-in rests. So I like to add my own to my hang-on. A rest also provides the secure feeling of some type of barrier, not to mention it serves as a nice armrest and even a point where you can attach a blind.
You can purchase accessories for this stand that offer similar benefits. However, I enjoy the process of customizing my gear to better suit me. Keep in mind, you'll void the warranty, so this project might not be for you.
Still with me? Let's get started making the gun rest and a couple of custom tree branch holders with PVC.
Step 1: CUT PVC
Start by cutting the PVC pipe into 2 40-inch pieces for the main rails. Then cut two more pieces 28 inches wide. Put PVC cement on the 90-degree pipes and connect them all to make a rectangle about 40x28 inches. Set that aside. Now cut the two uprights 37 inches long and set those aside.
Step 2: DRILL
Next use two of the PVC "T" brackets and drill two 1/2-inch holes through only ONE side of the connector; this is to allow for you to screw this piece to the tree stand. Then drill a hole just large enough for the No. 10 bolts to pass easily through.
Then clamp or hold the "T" connector to the bottom of the tree stand, about 8 inches from the end, and drill the same hole through the "T" connector and all the way through the stand. Bolt the "T" connector to the stand using the washers and the lock nut.
Step 3: CUT, SHAPE ALUMINUM
Cut two pieces of aluminum 6 inches long and bend it into a "U" shape, so it will tightly fit over the 3/4-inch PVC pipe rail. I like to round the edges of the aluminum strap with a grinder just to make it look nicer. Now take the rail section you made earlier. Line it up and center it on the square tubing that the seat is attached to on your hang-on stand.
Mark two places for the two "U" pieces to fit over the PVC rail and mount to the square tree-stand tubing. You will be drilling all the way through the aluminum bracket you made and the square tube; that way you can attach the PVC rail to the tree stand and it will easily rotate up and down.
At this point I will cut my PVC rail right where I am attaching the "U" brackets and put a PVC coupler on each side of where the aluminum bracket will be; this is to keep the rail from moving from side to side.
Step 4: FINISH THE RAILS
Once you have your railing attached to your stand, sand one end of each of the PVC pipe uprights (the 37-inch pieces you cut earlier) to allow them to freely move in and out of the "T" connectors you mounted to the front of the stand. Place them in the connectors and mark the place where they meet the PVC railing.
Drill all the way through the rail and the uprights, and then secure the upright pieces to the railing with the washers, bolts and nuts. This will have completed the rail system, which is not meant to keep you from falling (your safety harness has that job), but it will be a very solid rest while you are hunting.
Step 5: BRUSH HOLDERS
The brush holders are simply made like the "T" brackets, with the addition of a short, 4-inch section of PVC glued on the vertical part to allow for support of tree branches, grass, whatever you choose to add to your setup. Attach them at a 45-degree angle around your stand base. I only attached two for now, but you can add as many as you wish.
Step 6: PIMP IT
Now paint the whole thing camo, add an extra pad for your bottom (Millennium actually makes a nice accessory pad) add a small bag to hold straps, receiver mount, etc., and you will have improved your stand for just a few bucks.
When you want to pack up the stand, everything folds neatly into the stand and stays snug from jiggling with a couple of bungee cords. You can always throw a piece of camo cloth or blind material over the rail to add even more concealment. Happy hunting!