A deer stand in northern Minnesota is common, really, really common. They come in all shapes and sizes, like boats and ice houses. The one thing that bothered me about deer stands is that I didn't have one....at least, not one that blocked the wind and afforded protection from the elements. With the bulk of my summer projects out of the way, I decided it was time to build a good deer stand before I got too old to appreciate it. LOL! Little did I know that by the time I finished my first one, a second deer stand would be needed before hunting season started.
I started by searching online for some plans. I found a handful of plans that were free for the taking. As I looked at them, I started to understand why they were free. But, all was not lost. They gave me a few ideas and a starting point for what I wanted for my deer stand. Know where the stand was going to be located helped to determine the window size and count, the height off the ground, where to place the door, and where the stairs would go. With the info I had gleaned from the online plans plus the customization I needed for my specific needs, I proceeded to the lumber yard after making up an impromptu list of lumber. Let the building begin!
Plus or minus a few pieces, here is the stack of lumber I brought home from the local Menard's lumber yard. I was fortunate that it was able to dry a bit like this for a week or two before I started construction of the deer stand. Just for grins, I weighed a 8' long 2x4 that had been sitting in my garage for a couple of years. Compared to the same length 2x4 I had just bought, the weight was 1/3 of this very wet lumber. It was ground contact treated boards and still very wet from being bundled for shipping which doesn't allow it to dry at all. If I had it to do all over again, I would buy the lumber several months in advance and let it dry. It would have made for a much lighter deer stand when it came time to place it along the edge of the field.
The stand's platform was 4x8 feet which allowed sheet of plywood to be used as the floor. Based on needing a maximum of two seats in the stand, I opted to mke the stand 4x6 feet. The extra 2 feet of platform (left end of the above photo) gave me a "deck" so I could put a lawn chair and a grill on it (just kidding!). It did give me some space where the steps met the platform which in hindsight, worked out well.
I had to include a pic of this old DeWalt radial arm saw. It belonged to my Dad and now does saw duty on various projects here on the homestead. It isn't big and fancy but it is solid, reliabe and heavy. Thankfully he made that base for it so it isn't too difficult to move around the garage. Did I mention it was heavy? Anyway, it was used to cut many of the 2x4s used in the deer stand. Thanks Dad....it still runs well and I use it as often as I can.
Since the lumber was so wet and heavy, I decided to build the 4 walls and the roof seperately and then assemble them on the platform once everything was moved to the field. This allowed me to stack each completed section of the deer stand onto my 6x10 foot trailer for the trip out to the field. It too ended up being a good decision (more on that later). This is the west wall which has no windows since it faces the woods that is about 10' behind the stand.
Of course Toby had to help. This was his first construction project and he was always in the middle of it while I was working with the lumber. He decided that he could help hold the plywood on the wheelbarrow while I moved it to the garage. I'm not sure he actually really did much helping now that I refelect back on the project.....but he sure did have a good time.
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