The real concern is with ladder stands that are composed of wood [and usually the steps that are used to reach them].
The other concern is that trees are live and grow [but the stand doesn’t].
The main challenge with using wood is that it rots over time and the fixings will usually rust as well. When the wood rots it can sometimes be hard to see from the outside, and its not until some weight is applied that the extent of the rot is known.
Since most tree stand falls occur climbing or descending to the stand, the wooden steps are critical.
The inspection before you use the stand should be done several weeks before using it so there is time for any repairs before the season commences and the woods can settle down again.
Look for signs of damage or rot to the wood. Check the nails or screws for rusting and security. The platform base and supports should be examined for rot, movement, insecure fittings and deterioration. Even galvanized hardware rusts and may break caused by the swaying of trees and the weight of snow or ice.
If the ladder stand is made of metal, inspect and tighten all nuts and bolts as they can loosen over time.
Closely inspect all welds. It can be hard to see hairline cracks, so inspect the paint for cracks. Always replace any parts with originals as the local hardware stuff may not have the required tensile strength etc.
If any rust is found, remove it, prime and repaint the area to prevent further deterioration.
Check the connection points of cables or straps to ensure the attachment is secure.
Check to make sure all pins or s-hooks are not bent or rusted and replace if in doubt.
Check all connections on the ladder joining sections and pins for a snug fit.