That is interesting about shooting a rifle from the ground, but it makes sense. I suppose it is to affect the trajectory and make it so the bullet will be going downward toward the ground and not travel as far.
I can understand the merits of tree stands. I even own a couple ladder stands but I have never filld a tag from one. Maybe its because I'm terrified to be in them.
I have had two tree stands fall out from underneath me over the years. One had been placed by a professional guide on a hunt I was paying for. The other was when I was moving my stand with another hunter who routinely hunts from tree stands. He really knows his way around a tree stand. Despite that as I climbed the ladder stand to attach a strap to the top my eager to help friend started to come UP the ladder. This doubled the weight it was holding. It also left NO-ONE holding the ladder. As you might expect I fell and the steel stand came down on me! ouch. Thankfully it didn't hit me in the head. To me the risk of flirting with deadly gravity far out weighs the reward. It is just too risky for me.
As a result, I am terrified to be in a tree stand higher than I would be comfortable jumping down from. Given any choice at all I'd MUCH rather be on the ground on an elevated piece of real estate to improve my view over surrounding country rather than being off the ground. If I have to choose between just standing behind a tree or sitting up in one, I'll take hiding behind the trunk every time!
They are both excellent tools to assist you in harvesting a nice animal. I have them both and have used them both. If I have the choice I go with the stand as it offers me what I feel is the best view and if your stand is high enough in the air chances are your scent will blow over the animal.
I also have to agree with the others on the hunting conditions (forest or field) also dictate what you need to use.
Heck I know a hunter on the PA/WVA border who has a tree stand that is more of a blind in a tree... or actually more of a small cabin in a tree. His stand is covered and has four walls with openings on each side, he has a Lay-Z-Boy chair in side, and he has propane so the stand is heated and he can also do hot meals without leaving the stand. I think he was looking to put power out to it as well so he could watch a little tv. Now that is a stand... I mean blind... whatever!
Although I usually first think to elevated stands as my hunting plan, I have counted and found that my luck seems to be just about as good when simply staying on the ground. I like the idea of the scent elimination and perhaps getting away with more movement when 15-20' up in a tree, but for me it seems to work out about the same success-wise.
I'm also pretty darn tired of POS hunters taking stands I have set on private property and yes, some even when they were locked in a tree.
I have tried both and this is my 2 cents on the subject.
For ranges in excess of 50yds ground blinds are the way to go. Best of all - they mask movement you don't have to sit stone cold still which, for me at least means I can spend more time on the stand. They also help contain your scent (not eliminate or eradicate, they just help a bit) and a very close second (to screening your movement) they protect you from the worst of the wx, which in Canada in Nov is not a small consideration.
Tree stands are great, they get your scent off the ground and, despite earlier comments, once the leaves are off the trees (mid Oct where I hunt) actually helps you spot deer as you're not looking through as many branches etc. Best of all, once the snow comes (early Nov back home) those brown deer bodies stick out like crazy when looking down on them against the white snow.
However both have their drawbacks; commercial blinds, especially pop-ups, aren't well suited for hunting in the bush. There's a number of issues here: to get one with enough floor space that you can actually mount and aim your weapon into a suitable spot in the bush is tough, trimming away branches that won't create a noise hazard by scraping against the synthetic fabric I've always ended up disturbing a lot of the area. They also have this nasty habit of walking off on their own, particularly on public land if left overnight. But the number one drawback is that very unnatural looking black hole they create if your windows are ever left unscreened, even a crack. I think its a dead give away.
Tree stands - unless you're just trying to elevate a bit to see farther or get above the scrub to look down; to be over the deers natural line of sight you've got to be way up there - and not all trees can support a couple hundred pounds of hunter, rifle, clothes and gear stapped onto them about 30' off the ground without swaying...which means that you're not shooting from a solid base...which means you're accuracy suffers. If you can find a very solid sturdy maple or oak great, but not all trees are equal. If you're sitting lower, then you have concealment issues - nothing like a big solid blob of mass half way up a tree to attract the unwanted attention of a deer. Then theres the whole "gravity" problem and its affect on grunt tubes, doe cans, binos, rifles and hunters who are known to occassionally nod off on slow afternoons
Now the "my 2 cents bit". If I'm hunting in the bush I'm either about 8' up a spruce or pine tree or, more often, sitting at the base of it on the ground. My style of hunting is to get in close and I find that inside 50yds when I'm on the ground the deer always seem to be looking "over" me...they often spot me but can't seem to figure out what I am, even a few years ago when it was a requirement to be dressed head to toe in a suitable colour. Since I can only sit still for about 3 hours I have three spots picked out for the day; an early morning spot, a midday spot and an afternoon spot, this means I have a natural excuse to get up, strech and walk around a bit while changing locations. I set 2 ground blinds: one for a northerly wind and one for a southerly wind usually along a field edge, cut-line, clear-cut etc where ranges are in excess of 50yds. I try and get further back (at least 100yds from where I think the deer will appear - trail, scrape, etc). I also get as comfortable as I can and plan to sit long. This is usually my bad wx set-up.
The only time I use a tree stand is in two very specific spots, both on a ridge and the express purpose is to get above the scrub so that I'm not trying to look through it. I position the stand on a pine tree part way up the ridge so that I don't "skyline" myself and the pine boughs give cover.
The first deer I shot, way back in 1958, was taken to the local meat shop and processed into steaks, roasts and some burger. Back then in that little Idaho town, when you took a deer into the butcher, you got the same deer back. Unfortunately, times have changed. The last time I took an animal to a butcher, in the mid 60's, I don't have a clue who's meat I got back, but I sure don't think it was mine. I ended up throwing the burger as it stunk the house up every time we...