Ladder Treestand Safety Tips by Dana Sacia, Guest Blogger
If you are a bow hunter, you have heard time and time again … Safety first, Safety first, Safety first. You may even know someone that has had a treestand accident. The thought of that happening intimidated me so much that it took me years to climb up and get in one. I realized if I wanted to experience bow hunting from high ground, I was going to have to figure out how to over come this fear.
The first thing I needed to do was to become educated on how to be as safe as possible. I wanted to ensure myself memorable and enjoyable hunts for years to come without an accident. It didn’t take long to realize it really is pretty simple. All I had to do was apply a little basic knowledge and become aware of the importance of safety. Once that happened, I was able to enjoy the excitement of hunting from a new view and perspective while remaining safe and sound.
Wearing a safety vest or full body harness is one of the most important aspects to consider before climbing into a treestand. Statistics show that 30% of bow hunters will experience a fall or accident from lack of safety while hunting out of a ladder stand. Being in a hurry can be the number one result of an accident. As soon as you get into the stand, strap yourself in and then get settled. A strong and sturdy safety rope (or strap) should be attached to both your harness and the tree to prevent you from falling more than 12 inches. See more at: Summit Journal
Safety harness should fit securely. Good harnesses have shock absorption and are made of highly durable materials. The comfort of safety harness has greatly improved over the last several years. Some brands of safety harnesses include:
• Hunter Safety Systems: Contour
• Summit Stands: Fast-Back Deluxe
• Robinson Outdoors: Tree Spider
• Big Game Trees: EZ On • Gorilla: G20
Setting up a Ladder Stand
I personally hunt out of a ladder stand so the first thing to consider when preparing to set one up is finding a healthy tree. Try to pick a solid, strong, and heavy tree. Make sure you choose one that is nest free to any animals so you are not interrupting any home.
Once you have selected the perfect tree, clean the debris at the base of it. This will eliminate tripping over any rocks or thick brush when you are entering or exiting the stand. It will also show you if you have a solid platform for your treestand ladder legs to rest on.
If you keep your stand outside through the seasons, make sure to check it over each year before attempting to climb on it. You want to check to make sure the pins have not been pulled out or worked themselves out. Be sure that the stand has not rusted or have any screws that are exposed. I have found that at times metal pieces from the stand can come loose. If you see that anywhere on your stand, take care of it immediately, because it is a sure way to cut yourself or your pant leg. Double check the straps around the tree to make sure the sun has not weathered them. Also make sure that they have not become loose. Once you have assured it is safe to get on it, climb on up very slowly, checking each step for things that might appear hazardous or dangerous. Be sure to peak under the padded seat to make sure it has not become a resting spot for a critter or bees. Again, double check the top for any rust spots and make sure you feel safe.
Here are some really important safety tips to remember.
• Never go into your stand without a safety harness on.
• Carry a loaded weapon while climbing up or down from the stand. Use a rope to bring up after you have securely strapped in. If you’re pulling up a gun, make sure the barrel is facing down not up.
• Wear no gripped boots or shoes while on a treestand.
• Lean or stretch out of a tree to reach for something.
• Have your safety harness strap or rope around your neck.
• Have too much stuff around that would cause you to trip, should you choose to stand and shoot.
- Wear a safety vest or harness.
- Tell someone when and where you are hunting inthe event of accident.
- Carry safety equipment, for example, a flash light,knife, and cell phone or whistle.
- Have three points of contact on the ladder at alltimes, four would be ideal.
- Keep your items in a backpack to avoid tripping.
- Make sure your backpack straps are as short aspossible.
- Check your pants for long dangling straps or thingsthat can get stuck or tangle you up.
- Be sure to take off any jewelry that can also getcaught or in the way.
- Allow extra time to get down the stand, especially ifit has been raining.
- Be aware of slippery and hazardous climbing conditions that may result from rain, sleet, snow or ice and take the appropriate precautions.
Should an accident happen with your harness on, try to kick the tree to create a back and forth motion to swing you back to your stand. The less your legs dangle, the better off you will be. If you can’t make it back to your seat, practice pushing off the tree with your legs to keep the blood circulating while you are waiting for help.
A lot of accidents could be avoided if we would just slow down and use a little common sense. So ask yourself each time you bow hunt, do you want to drive back home in a car, an ambulance, or a hearse? If you apply some simple logic you will be ensured to have many more years of fun in the woods
and challenging hunts out of a treestand.
Photos by: Jaden Sacia
Written by Dana Sacia, Entrepreneur/Business Owner/Writer
Girls’ Guns & Rods®