Tree Stand Safety Systems
Tree stand safety systems used to consist of an old piece of rope that you dug out from the barn and threw in the back of your truck. You tied it around your waist and the tree, this was a crude way of keeping yourself in the tree. It was some sort of Jimmy rig like this, or nothing at all. I am glad that was before my hunting time.
I personally know at least 5 people that have fallen from a tree in either the preperation phase of the season or during actual hunting activities. Their story’s are grim reminders of the horror that can take place when things go bad at heights. Luckily all of them are still with us today to share their story’s.
With all the information out there about tree stand safety, there is certainly no reason for anyone to be in the dark about the protection these safety systems have to offer. In my experience the lack of information isn’t the problem when it comes to being safe at heights. It’s the poor mentality of “it won’t happen to me” or “I’ve done it hundreds of times and I’m ok” it’s this way of thinking that really concerns me and fuels my next point.
Being a Health and Safety professional and a High Angle Rescue technician, I am a custom to measuring and monitoring risk. Essentially, risk = probability X’s severity. For the reasons of keeping this article simple, I won’t bog it down with OH& S measuring techniques. The point I want to make here is, the more time you spend in a tree without a fall protection safety system in place, the better the odds are of something bad happening. Furthermore, if something undesirable does happen, chances are there will be a serious injury as a result. This means when a hunter hunts often from hieghts with poor tree stand safety practice, they are exposing themselfs to very high level of risk.
Please ask yourself this, do you have people in your life that depend on you? Do you have people in your life that you would never do anything to hurt? If you answered yes to either or both of these questions then you owe it to them to be safe while you hunt from heights. If you wont do it for yourself, do it for them.
In this VIDEO I have outlined the basic components of a fall protection system for hunting. I address some common mistakes I see people make as well as some issues I haven’t seen anyone else talk about yet. I also briefly demonstrate how to use this system in the field.
With all this talk about using a tree stand safety system, please don’t take for granted the importance of having an emergency plan. Always let people know where you will be hunting. Leave them detailed maps of your stand locations. Always carry a signaling or location device that can be utilized to call for help. The key here is to have this on your person. It won’t be any good to you if you are hanging suspended in a harness (even with trama relief straps) and the means of calling for help is in your back pack up by your tree stand.
If you ensure that your anchor is always as high as possible, and taut when sitting down in your stand, it will prevent you from falling too far from your tree stand and you should be able to rescue yourself and get back in to your stand or on to your steps. This can really mean the difference between life and death, suspension trauma and harness induced pathology are serious health conditions and believe me when I say you don’t want to be in those scenarios.
Hunting from heights certainly holds some advantages over your quarry. It is also a beautiful way to sit and enjoy nature as it happens all around you. Be safe out there and enjoy hunting from above!