Thursday, January 08, 2009
Never Take Chances In A Tree Stand
Thousands of bow hunters try for whitetails each year, and at least 60 percent of those sportsmen hunt from a tree stand at one time or another.
Many bow hunters make one or more mistakes in a tree. Some may merely cost them a shot at a buck but others may cost them their life.
The simple act of climbing a tree does not guarantee a shot at a buck or doe. Nor does it guarantee that this will be a safe hunt for the sportsman. It all depends on the sportsman and his/her knowledge of the dangers of hunting from an elevated position.
The following tips should be thought about this winter, and hunters should begin implementing them before their first hunt begins next fall. These tips can help produce bucks every year, and if these safety tips are followed, they can make each deer hunt a safe hunt.
- The wind is everything. Know the prevailing wind direction in the area being hunted, and have two or three back-up tree stands nearby in case of a wind switch. Never sit in your “pet” tree if it places you directly upwind from where you expect deer to appear. Never sit in the same tree two nights in a row, or after having shot at and missing a deer. Always locate a tree stand between bedding and feeding areas, or in funnel areas, and be in the stand at least an hour before you expect deer to start moving around.
- Visually inspect every stand before the season and before climbing into it. Inspect all nuts and bolts, all welds, safety chains or straps, and look at each step of a ladder stand,. Do a thorough job of inspection.
- Always wear a safety harness. I just heard today about a guy that fell asleep in his tree stand and fell out. He got busted up some but it never would have happened if he had been wearing a safety harness. A safety harness does for hunters what a lap belt and should restraint does for a motorist in the event of a crash. People who believe wearing a safely harness is “sissy stuff” deserve whatever fate they suffer in a major fall.
- A tree stand can be too high or too low. The average tree stand height will be between 12 and 16 feet although some hunters prefer hunting much higher off the ground. Stands should have some vegetation behind the hunter to break up his outline so he is not silhouetted against the sky. A stand too high off the ground produces an extreme angle which makes hitting a buck difficult. A stand too low can send human scent drifting down to an approaching deer.
- Position tree stands so approaching whitetails can be shot without moving anything more than the bow arm and the opposite hand. Right-handed hunters cannot pivot far to the right, and left handed hunters cannot swing far to the left. Make certain the stand is situated so an easy shot can be taken. Learn to shoot sitting down, and make certain that twigs or small branches that may contact bow limbs are removed. Nothing is more frustrating than to have a bow hit a tree limb and deflect the arrow.
- Remove all creaks and squeaks from your elevated platform. Nothing spooks deer faster than an unexpected groan from a squeaky tree stand. Indoor-outdoor carpeting is useful in reducing some hunter noise.
- Use a strong rope to pull your bow into the tree stand after climbing into position and fastening the safety harness to a secure site on the tree. Lower the bow and quiver to the ground before climbing down. This rule can prevent an arrow injury or death should the hunter slip and fall.
- Hunting from an elevated stand is fraught with potential danglers. All it takes is one brain burp at the wrong time, and you’ll be scratching and clawing for a handhold on something to arrest the sudden stop you know is coming. A few people get lucky in a fall, and survive with minor injuries.
Most people who come out of a tree stand or fall while climbing up or down are often busted up pretty bad. Some are paralyzed, and a few pay the ultimate price for their carelessness.
- Perhaps the most important item of all when hunting from a tree stand is to engage the brain before making the climb. Think things through, remember to always have at least three contact points with the tree or stand, such as two hands and one foot or both feet and one hand.
Pull a dumb move by taking both hands off the tree or stand, and you’ll have a second to realize what a stupid mistake you’ve made. A savvy tree stand hunter does not make mistakes.
They know the wind, they play it like a fine violin, and they never take chances while climbing into or out of a tree stand. Never!