- Experts say the best deer hunting with a bow is from 15 to 30 feet up in a tree. Dangerous? Yes!
- Early to rise can mean “early to sleep” while in your tree stand. It’s common, it’s fun, it keeps you in the woods, but can be deadly if you are not protected.
- Minimize danger, Lifeline Safety – here is how to stay protected while you wait for Mister BIG or snooze.
By Forrest Fisher
With the seasonal shift in progress, it’s becoming a colorful time of year, a likable time of year for most everyone that loves the outdoors. For deer hunters, the archery season is open, or close to it, wherever you live. Most everywhere, it has been too warm and the moon phase isn’t quite right yet for the usual natural deer behavior of bucks seeking to find hot doe’s this early. The rut, the typical time for bucks to mark their territory and leave a scent trail to be followed by members of the opposite sex, is predicted to be the first or second week in November in northern zones. If you are an archery hunter and are out there anyway, I understand. It’s fun to be in the woods in a tree stand 12 to 20 feet above the ground, or higher, safely tethered to your tree and out of any danger that might befall you should you render yourself asleep up there.
I must confess, I fall asleep just about every hunt, but I’m safely tethered to my tree because I’m in a Summit Viper climbing tree stand. It fastens around the tree with a braided wire hoop and also acts as an “easy chair” once “up there.” This is the safest, quietest and most comfortable way to hunt from above ground, tethered to the tree every foot of the way that you climb upward. I am in full confidence that no danger or injury would occur with this setup and I feel totally safe, yet I am always aware of issues, worn parts and all that. Best part? You or I can be in a new tree for every hunt. No over-scent left by our presence in the same tree each time out. Deer have a super-sensitive sense of smell, sight and hearing. Not repeating in the same tree works to help you be successful.
Many big game hunters that hunt from above ground use a fixed ladder-stand. Granted, it’s easier once in place. Most are using modern, metal stands that will not rot with exposure to rain or snow, that’s a big plus. The old-style, build-it-yourself tree stands from wood are mostly history today, but if you hunt from one of those be VERY CAREFUL. If you hunt from either one of these fixed-stand types, old or new, wood or metal, there is one common protection method that will work for both stand types. To be just as safe as if you were in a climbing tree stand and tethered to the tree from start to finish, going up and coming down, check out the Hunter Safety System (HSS) Lifeline and don’t wait to get one. Do it now (https://huntersafetysystem.com).
Anyone that hunts above ground should always be wearing a full body-harness, of course, that is rule number one. Your family and friends are way too important to be taking care of you with a broken back or a broken neck, since these are among the most common injuries from a tree stand fall, IF YOU LIVE. Lots of guys think they are the big, strong, macho brutes of the woods and don’t need a harness for their 10-foot treestand (hunter girls not so much, they follow the safety rules). Everyone that hunts above ground needs a full body-harness, period. Injury can happen from much lower heights too. Protect yourself.
To hunt with the harness and Lifeline, just clip the full body-harness carabiner (the uppermost clip on your harness) to the moveable HSS Lifeline Prussic loop knot (part of the Lifeline unit), it slides up with you as you go up – one foot at a time. If you slip off the ladder as you are climbing up, or from the top, as you sit in your stand for hours on end – way up there, while you might be resting your eyes, you are protected by the Lifeline. Follow the instructions that come with the Lifeline Unit to install the Lifeline. Use care, always.
For $40, it’s worth it. Your life insurance is only $40. Can’t beat that.
Total protection from the ground to the top of the stand and back down – cheap, easy, adds to your confidence level (no worries), worth your time to get one. The full body-harness can cost $60 to $200, there are lots of choices. I’m a simple guy, my $60 model works great. You can search the same HSS website as above for harness details. Yes, the full body-harness takes some time to become familiar with, but once mastered, you can put it on and take it off in about 20-30 seconds, even in the dark. I’ve used mine for about 20 years and it gets to be that simple to draw your bow and aim your arrow, or point your firearm – from 20 or 30 feet up, with complete confidence in your own safety. That’s a big deal to me. The deer and choice of shot is now totally yours, no safety worries. Dead deer. It’s predictable.
With the warm weather early in the season, or when it turns brutally cold during firearm and black powder season, you can hunt with the confidence that you will return. Your children, your family, and your friends might like that if you explain it to them. You are safe. Share this good news. Get a full-body harness, get a Lifeline and get some safe sleep, even when you hunt.
After all, we get up so doggone early.
To straight shots.