Dr. Ken Nordberg’s Most Valuable Hunting Tool

Back in 1960 when I switched from making drives to stand hunting, there was no such thing as a tree stand. Rather than actually stand upright while stand hunting, most stand hunters sat on something — a stump, log, boulder, brush pile or the ground. I sat on such objects throughout 30 hunting seasons, but not without complaint. Typically, such seats were unyielding, lumpy, cold and damp or downright wet. During our wintery Minnesota deer hunting seasons, an inevitably soaked rear sometimes made stand hunting unbearable. Moreover, such seats were rarely located at sites that might be considered ideal. Us stump sitters nonetheless took deer fairly regularly, including some braggin’-sized bucks.

Now that mature whitetails everywhere have convinced many veteran hunters tree sand hunting isn’t near as effective as it once was, ground level stand hunting has been making a strong comeback, as evidenced by the relatively sudden wide-scale demand for folding, easily-packed hunting stools and chairs and portable blinds.


After trying using a few of the first commercially made folding stools in the early 1990s, typically having aluminum or steel frameworks with canvas seats, I decided to make one of my own with an oak framework, an attached packsack and custom-fitted shoulder straps. I preferred a wooden framework for two reasons. First, to eliminate metallic sounds easily heard over great distances and readily identified as sounds made by human hunters by experienced mature whitetails. When my stool’s wooden framework inadvertently bumps a branch or tree trunk, it makes a natural sound like that made when two branches or tree trunks bang together in a breeze, harmless sounds commonly heard by all forest region whitetails throughout their lives. Second, wood made it easy to create a stool height comfortable for my legs and knees with wide, rounded edges across the top of the stool to eliminate the discomfort characteristic of sitting long hours on the small-diameter, metallic pipe frameworks of folding stools of that period. Custom-fitted shoulder straps, joined in the center in back, eliminated the need for metal or plastic buckles and attachments in front. My attached packsack with a simple draw string is large enough to enable me to stuff my hunting coat (and all other needed gear) inside to avoid perspiring during long and arduous hikes to distant stand sites. My stool has been remarkably durable for more than twenty years years, the only new part needed being a camo canvass seat.

It gets better: My stool provides me with an instantly available, dry and comfortable seat whenever and wherever I decide to stand hunt (sit). It enables me to freely use great numbers of promising stand sites without the need for preseason preparations. Silent to carry, it is ever ready to be placed silently on the ground where I am well hidden within easy shooting distance downwind of just-discovered, very fresh tracks, droppings or other fresh signs made by a mature buck. It has thus made me regularly successful at taking mature bucks. I thus consider it my most valuable deer hunting tool.

(Here is a link to an article on my website on how to make your own stool.)


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