TREE STAND SAFETY
DEER SEASON IS HERE! It seems the weather is finally going to turn in the hunter’s favor, just a little. It has been hot, maybe the hottest September on record. Now that we are going to have a cold front and some rain moving in, we can get into the woods. I know Deer Season has been going on for a little bit with the Velvet hunt and bow season opening at the end of September, but with this heat I cannot deal with it.
For anyone who knows me, knows I don’t like bugs snakes and sweating. All those things have been in play starting this Deer Season. I don’t like real cold weather either, but I sure don’t like the heat. It’s been too hot to fish (remember that old song)? It’s too hot to fish and too cold at home. Well I am old, I guess.
With Deer Season here, hopefully you have already picked a great spot and got your tree stand or blind set up. Maybe you got a bruiser on camera and know his pattern. If you are going to hunt from a tree stand, there are some safety precautions that are must haves.
Firearms used to be number one cause in injuries or deaths while hunting. Now it’s falling from a Tree stand. Some of us are not as young as we once were. So, what does a cracked skull, large medical bills, lost time from works or maybe even paralysis do to your deer hunting? Same as mine, it equals lost time in the woods and more time on the couch healing and dreaming of next year. Let’s look at some safety tips we can use for hunting from a tree stand: Always use a safety harness and lifeline, the cost maybe a little more than you want to spend, but it’s cheaper than a trip to the emergency room.
When setting up your stand (climber or ladder) make sure the tree you pick is alive. Do not put a stand on a dead tree. The last place you want to be is sitting in your stand that is attached to a dead tree. You will have your lifeline tied to it. Should it fall over, guess what (can you say TIMBERRRRR) yep, you’re going down too. Not to mention dead limbs falling and hitting you in the head.
Climbing in or getting down is the most dangerous time while in a stand. Always use the three-point rule. Always, always have two hands and one foot or two feet or one hand on the ladder. Never try to carry all your equipment up with you, use haul lines to get that stuff up into the tree with you. The last thing you want to be doing is try to climb a tree stand with all your equipment. You will probably drop something and have to climb back down the tree. That just increases the opportunity for a mistake to happen.
Practice using the stand and harness in the back yard, get used to it before opening day.
If you didn’t set your stand up this season, it’s time for inspection. Take a friend and cautiously inspect every inch of your stand. Make sure the ladder bots are secure and the strap holding it to the tree is not rotten. If the life- line has been in the weather all year, think about replacing it.
Clear the brush and rocks from the base of the tree your stand is attached too. This could reduce the injuries you get should you fall; also help you make a quieter entrance into the stand. If you have limbs lying around guess what is going to hang onto your equipment when you start pulling it up into your stand.
Boots, not only are they important to keep your feet warm and dry, make sure the bottoms are not as slick as your Sunday church slippers. When that ladder gets wet or icy, you will need some grip on the bottom of your boots to keep from slipping.
Think about carrying a rescue whistle, small flashlight and cell phone in a secured pocked on your person. If you fall from your stand and your backpack is hanging up and on the other side of the tree, it’s not going to do you much good.
When you buy a safety harness, go to the company website or youtube and make sure you know how to properly use it, your life may depend on it.
Think about carrying a couple of screw in steps, they may help take some pressure off your legs and possible help you get back into your stand. Make sure you know how to use the safety harness features. Suspension Trauma can set in if you hang from a tree for too long. The stress from the straps around your legs can cause poor blood circulation and make your heart beat harder to try and push blood to your legs. Before you hit the stand adjust your suspension release strap to fit you and keep it on your person, not in the backpack but on your person.
Remember, your gun should always be unloaded, and your broad heads covered when hauling them up into the stand, use the haul up ropes, never climb into the stand with guns, bows or equipment on your back.