Home Safe after Every Hunt: A Hunter's Guide to Treestand Safety
Deer hunting from a treestand is thrilling, to say the least. Being elevated gives every hunter an advantage to see oncoming deer. Ground blinds are great, but you cannot see through thickets or over tall grass when hunting from the ground.
Tree stands give you an opportunity to see more animals while out in the woods!
When we start getting ready for the fall hunting season we work on our target shooting with our bows and pick up the latest gear from Scentlok at our local sporting goods store. We make sure our knives are sharp, and we have our grunt calls, rattle antlers, and backpacks packed for the treestand.
The problem is we've given no time or thought to be safe in our tree stand!
The reasons we hunt can be vast. I like to hunt to provide meat for my family to eat over the next year. I also archery hunt for the excitement and exhilaration of seeing Whitetail Deer or Elk up close. I understand it all too well, as I, too, share the same burning passion for hunting as you!
Like you, I look forward to every hunting season with eager excitement!
But, there's something that should never escape our minds - the unshakable commitment to getting back home to our families, safe and sound, each and every time we head out to bow hunt from a tree stand.
The bedrock of every decision I make as a hunter is safety. It's a commitment that ensures we can continue pursuing our passion for the great outdoors, year after year. And most importantly, I keep myself out of the hunting stats for injuries and deaths.
In this article, we're not just going to talk about safety from a clinical standpoint. We're going to delve into the very heart of it, offering you insights and strategies that I have personally found invaluable as a tree stand bow hunter.
The tips and gear we'll discuss are not just about protecting yourself – they're about securing your dreams, your adventures, and your return to the people who matter most in your life!
So, let's journey together into the world of hunting out of a tree stand and identify safety items that are not just a precaution – it's a promise to ourselves and our families.
Together, we'll explore these five tips (and review a few additional safety measures) to ensure that every moment in the treestand is not just thrilling but also undeniably safe.
Let's make sure you are safe in the tree stand and maybe we'll cover a few safety gear items you will add to your gearbox for the next time you are hunting out of a treestand.
Tip 1: Be Physically Fit For The Treestand
Before even setting foot on a treestand or installing your treestand, it's crucial to assess your physical condition. Being in good shape not only enhances your overall hunting experience but also plays a significant role in your safety. Here's how you can start getting into shape for your hunt:
Nutrition and Supplements:
Proper nutrition is the foundation of a healthy body. Start by incorporating a balanced diet rich in lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Staying well-hydrated is equally important.
Consider adding supplements that can aid your fitness journey. Shaggy Outdoors recommends the Mtn Ops Weight Loss Program, designed to help hunters shed excess weight and boost their endurance. Scott Myers, one of Shaggy Outdoors Team Members, did a comprehensive review of the program and products which you can read by clicking here.
By following a structured meal plan and the weight loss program, many hunters have experienced a drop of 10-15 pounds within 30 days of their hunt. This not only improves your physical condition but also makes climbing and navigating the treestand easier.
Remember, the goal here is not just weight loss, but overall fitness. Your hunt will be more enjoyable and safer if you are in good physical shape.
Encourage yourself to get into the best possible shape before the hunting season. Not only will it help you in the treestand, but it will also enhance your overall hunting experience.
Tip 2: Use Safety Gear In Tree Stand
Safety gear is your first line of defense when hunting from a treestand. The Team at Shaggy Outdoors recently completed an article "What are 4 Key Safety Items Every Tree Stand Hunter Should Use" which goes into detail about safety gear every bow hunter should be using when hunting out of a tree blind.
The following essential items should always be a part of your tree-climbing and stand-sitting equipment:
- Safety Harness or Fall Arrest System (FAS): Your safety harness secures you to the tree and prevents falls. Ensure it's properly fitted and adjusted to your body.
- Safe-Line: A safe-line or tether system provides an additional layer of security while ascending and descending. It can save you in the event of a fall while climbing the tree.
- Lineman's Rope: This is typically used while installing the treestand and provides a secure attachment to the tree when climbing or working on installing your ladders. Can also be used when climbing to your seat and while lowering yourself to the ground.
- Tree Strap: The tree strap connects your harness to the tree while sitting in the treestand, keeping you anchored securely. This keeps you safe when sitting or standing in the treestand. It will catch you when you lose balance and slip off the platform.
Tip 3: Install Tree Stand and Steps Correctly
Proper installation of the treestand and its accompanying steps is crucial for your safety. Always follow the manufacturer's standards and recommendations for setting up your equipment.
This includes selecting a sturdy and healthy tree, ensuring secure attachment, and positioning the stand at the right height. Take your time to read the instructions and check for any specific guidelines provided by the manufacturer.
While installing your steps and stand use your Safety Harness and Lineman's Rope to secure yourself to the tree.
But before you can be safe hunting from a treestand or ladder stand you need to know which is best for your hunting situation. Our article "Choosing the Right Treestand for Your Hunt: Hang-On vs. Ladder Stands" goes into detail on which of these tree stand styles may be right for you when archery hunting.
Tip 4: Check Equipment Before Installation
Regular equipment checks are a non-negotiable aspect of hunting from a treestand. Before installing the treestand, meticulously inspect all components to ensure they are in excellent condition.
Likewise, every year or when moving treestand locations, check the condition of your safety gear, platform, connections, and any signs of wear or damage. Replace or repair any faulty equipment promptly.
Part of checking your gear is looking at the fasteners used to keep the steps and tree stand in place. Check for fraying or tears in the straps.
Tip 5: Always Climb with 3 Points of Contact
When ascending or descending from a treestand, always maintain three points of contact with the ladder or tree. This means having two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand in contact at all times. This three-point rule provides stability and minimizes the risk of slipping or falling during the climb.
Part of the safety once you have all your gear installed is using the Safe-Line Rope system. This rope, when attached to your carabinier, "should" catch you if you slip and fall while climbing. While you may still get some bumps and bruises, the Safe-Line will keep you from falling to the ground.
Final Thoughts on Hunting Safety While Using a Treestand
In conclusion, hunting from a treestand can be an immensely rewarding experience, but it should never come at the cost of safety.
Being physically fit, using proper safety gear, installing equipment correctly, conducting regular equipment checks, and adhering to climbing safety practices are all vital aspects of a safe and successful hunt.
By following these five tips, deer hunters can enjoy their time in the treestand while minimizing the risks associated with this hunting strategy.
Stay safe, and happy hunting!