Archive for the ‘Treestands’ Tag

TREESTAND PLACEMENT FOR RUT AND POST RUT WHITETAILS   Leave a comment

Treestand 0002

As white-tailed deer move into the late rut and post rut period they change her feeding habits and behavior. Successful deer hunters should change their tactics as well.  This is especially true of treestand placement.

The latter part of deer season for bowhunters and the start of firearms seasons is a time to move back into deep cover of woods, swamps, farmland sloughs, river bottoms and thick stands of cattails.

Big bucks will stay there and not go out to feed with does and yearlings. At this time the rigors of the rut and dodging hunters wears them out.  They seek isolated locations to rest up.  They find the nastiest, thickest cover around and stay there.  Hunters have to go in there too if they want a big buck.

During the rut, a stand over a breeding scrape is a good bet. All scrapes are not breeding scrapes.  They differ in both size and location.

Breeding scrapes are usually 2 to 4-feet in diameter and normally found in heavy cover with an overhanging bush or tree limb. Deer muddy the scrape with deer urine and leave tracks in it.

Territorial scrapes are smaller and made in more open areas. They usually are located at the corners of wooded areas or along grain or alfalfa field edges.

To hunt a breeding scrape, locate the stand downwind of the scrape about 20-yards and high up a tree. As the buck approaches a scrape he usually does so from downwind.  Do not go anywhere near the scrape so as to avoid contaminating it with human scent.

After selecting the area for the stand it is time to pick the exact location. Try to predict what the deer sees and where he will travel as he passes the stand location.

Placement of a stand should be in natural surroundings. Use available materials to camouflage you and the stand.  If there is a chance a rising or setting sun might outline you forget that location.  You could sit there all season and not see a deer.

Bowhunters especially need a clear shot as a single twig can deflect an arrow and ruin the chance at that buck of a lifetime. Tailor the spot to meet the need for clear shooting alleys by tying back branches and brush more open in the areas you thin a shot will present itself.  Remember later to untie the branches and leave the woods the way you found it.  This is better than cutting branches for cover or for stands.

Choose a stand location that you can get into and out of with a minimum of disruption to the surroundings. Plan your path to the stand so that it will not encounter a trail along which a deer might travel.  It is important that deer not know you are in the area.  If possible enter the area with the wind in your face.

A tree in a clump of trees is better than one more open no matter how good the shooting lanes. A pine tree with some limbs cut away works well as long as you are conscious of what the deer will see from ground level.  Even better is just tying back the limbs so that when you are done with the stand, the string can be cut and the go back to the original place without damage to the tree.

Remember that you will be in the stand for a long time. Think about your comfort and ability to remain still.  People have different levels of tolerance for discomfort.  Judge your stand according to yours.

Once the stand is in place, you might have to move it in order to fine tune it. If you do, then do not use it for a few days so that the deer become accustomed to its presence.  You might even place a gunnysack full of leaves in it so that they become use to seeing a shape in it.  Later remove the sack and replace it with you.

Think like a deer when considering treestand placement. It is hard work but pays dividends during hunting season.

 

TREESTAND SAFETY SAVES LIVES   Leave a comment

Treestand 0001

 

The reports of deer stand injuries and fatalities are beginning to trickle in as the season cranks up. Years ago hunting injuries due to shootings were quite high.  Then hunters began to take hunter safety courses and use treestands.  The fatalities declined.  Still injuries resulted from falls from treestands.  There are no really accurate records of treestand injuries in particular.

In a seminar presented at the SEOPA annual conference at Fontana Village Resort by Jay Everett, Hunter Safety Systems another aspect of treestand safety became apparent.

Jay presented data pointing out treestand accidents do not all come as a result of falling out of the stand. To the contrary, 86% are the result of falls while getting into and out of stands.  This can be ascending and descending or stepping on to and off of the stand. He explains that we have come a long way in treestand safety with the acceptance of harness systems in the stand.  The main problem now is that people ignore the need to remain connected going into and coming out of the stand.

Everett recommends the use of a lifeline to stay connected to the tree. The Life Line he recommends is one made by Hunter Safety Systems that makes use of a prusik knot.  Everett stresses the need to keep the knot above your head in both ascending and descending from a treestand.  He also recommends pulling pack and weapons up by a haul line after behind securely established in the stand.

Other safety precautions recommended are always let someone know exactly where you will be hunting and keep your cell phone with you and turned on. Of course you should never pull loaded firearms up the haul line and be sure to keep the muzzle pointed toward the ground.  During, before and after the season inspect all your equipment for wear and tear that might lead to failure.

The goal of everyone is to reach zero death and disability from hunting related incidents. The life you save may be your own.

 

SETTING UP TO AMBUSH DEER   Leave a comment

Sneaking doe

 

All too often we spend more time dressing up our ground blinds and treestands with too little thought about where to place them. That often is a big mistake.

Be aware of prevailing winds. Try to place stand in a location where the prevailing wind will be from the trail deer most likely to use in approaching you.  A second choice is a position that has a cross wind.  The idea is to prevent the deer from becoming aware of your presence by using his nose, his primary defense system.

By locating your stand with your back to the sun and front to the deer you defeat another of the animal’s defense systems. Deer do not have a UV filter over their eyes like humans.  They hate to look into the sun and avoid doing so as much as possible.

By placing a treestand high you can be above his nose level. Fifteen feet is usually enough but be aware of wind currents carried over ridges.  The nose level is also above any other scent line where your scent would carry it to them.  This may be high but it does not have to be sky high.  Some people place their treestands in the nosebleed area of a tree.  So high that it causes ones nose to bleed from the altitude.  Pick a tree that is easy to climb for safety sake.  Be sure to use a harness and lifeline in going to/from and while in your treestand.

Prepare your blind and stand locations so that you have shooting lanes that give a clear shot. If none is available then trim some branches and bushes to provide several shooting locations through which deer are likely to pass.

It is advisable to remain concealed from the ground level in the case of tree stands. Do not allow yourself to present a silhouette against the sky.  Deer do look up.  With a ground blind you can use natural brush and other vegetation to conceal yourself and your blind.

USE EXTRA CARE IN TREESTAND   Leave a comment

Treestand accidents account for over half of all hunting accidents in my home state of Illinois.

L.J. Smith spent many years studying the medical records surrounding treestand accidents.  He reached some common sense conclusions as to what hunters need to do in order to enjoy a safe hunt.

Read on before placing your treestands this summer.

Here are some of Smith’s conclusions and recommendations.

Most hunting accidents are preventable.  You need only to act in a responsible manner.  If you take the time to plan necessary precautions you will enjoy a safe day afield.

L.J. finds that one of the big mistakes people make is getting in a hurry.  They want to maximize the amount of time spent in place to take advantage of hunting time.  Being in a hurry they ignore safety which in turn leads to trouble.

One of the more common problems people in a hurry have is falling through the ladder and getting a leg caught.  It frequently leads to a broken leg.

A fatal mistake hunters can make comes from failure to wear a fall arrest system.  According to Smith, “If one wears a full body fall harness and maintains contact with the tree at all times he will not hit the ground.”  A person falling from 20 feet up a tree hits the ground at 25 miles per hour.

Another mistake is constructing a homemade wooden stand in a tree.  In Smith’s study approximately 50 percent of the accidents reported were from homemade tree stands.  This comes from rotten wood and nails that pull out of the tree.

Smith explains that the problem with home made stands comes where the legs contact the ground.  The moisture in the ground seeps up into the wood and speeds up the rot.  Using treated wood does not avoid this problem.  Wood treatments involve the outer part of the board more then the center.  Moisture seeps up the center part of the wood and rots it from the center out.

Smith feels a home made treestand should never be used.  He points out that modern treestands are available for nearly the same amount of money.  In addition a treestand that is TMA (Treestand Manufacturers Association) certified has been thoroughly tested for safety and durability in one of their testing centers.  The centers put stands though tough tests and reject any that do not meet the minimum safety standards.  Some 38 companies send their products to be tested.

Smith indicates that a treestand must be comfortable.  If it is not, you will not use it.  The ones on the market range from basic metal to panned ones that are very comfortable.  You can get as fancy as you prefer.

The same is true of the full body harness safety systems that come with the treestands or are available as an after market item.  They are in small, medium and large but are adjustable within those ranges.  Most have a weight certification marked on the unit.

Remember to be sure you are attached to the tree from the time your foot leaves the ground until you return.  Smith also wants you to have the tree strap above your head so that the life line attached to the harness is tight when you are seated.  One should just be able to feel a tug when seated.  When you stand it comes down to the middle of your back and not below the waist.  If you do fall out of the stand it will only be a fall of about a foot.

Smith suggests that new treestand owners take it out back and place it in a tree about 4 feet above the ground.  Then test the harness by falling out of it with the system attached and under the supervision of another person.  Hunters do not need to go out in the woods and fall out of a stand without knowing what to expect.

One case studied by Smith was of a hunter in that situation who panicked when he was unable to get back into his stand.  He unfastened the leg straps.  The harness rode up around his throat and suffocated him.

It is vital that one make sure the treestand is properly and securely installed.  Keep the harness system on while on the stand as well as while getting in and out.  Unloaded firearms and bows should be brought to the stand via a haul line.  They should not be in your possession while climbing in and out of the stand.

Keeping Smith’s research in mind may make your hunt this year, safe and secure.

THE HOW AND WHY OF TREESTAND ACCIDENTS   11 comments

Treestand accidents account for over half of all hunting accidents in my home state of Illinois.

L.J. Smith spent many years studying the medical records surrounding treestand accidents. He reached some common sense conclusions as to what hunters need to do in order to enjoy a safe hunt.

Read on before placing your treestands this summer.

Here are some of Smith’s conclusions and recommendations.

Most hunting accidents are preventable. You need only to act in a responsible manner. If you take the time to plan necessary precautions you will enjoy a safe day afield.

L.J. finds that one of the big mistakes people make is getting in a hurry. They want to maximize the amount of time spent in place to take advantage of hunting time. Being in a hurry they ignore safety which in turn leads to trouble.

One of the more common problems people in a hurry have is falling through the ladder and getting a leg caught. It frequently leads to a broken leg.

A fatal mistake hunters can make comes from failure to wear a fall arrest system. According to Smith, “If one wears a full body fall harness and maintains contact with the tree at all times he will not hit the ground.” A person falling from 20 feet up a tree hits the ground at 25 miles per hour.

Another mistake is constructing a homemade wooden stand in a tree. In Smith’s study approximately 50 percent of the accidents reported were from homemade tree stands. This comes from rotten wood and nails that pull out of the tree.

Smith explains that the problem with home made stands comes where the legs contact the ground. The moisture in the ground seeps up into the wood and speeds up the rot. Using treated wood does not avoid this problem. Wood treatments involve the outer part of the board more then the center. Moisture seeps up the center part of the wood and rots it from the center out.

Smith feels a home made treestand should never be used. He points out that modern treestands are available for nearly the same amount of money. In addition a treestand that is TMA (Treestand Manufacturers Association) certified has been thoroughly tested for safety and durability in one of their testing centers. The centers put stands though tough tests and reject any that do not meet the minimum safety standards. Some 38 companies send their products to be tested.

Smith indicates that a treestand must be comfortable. If it is not, you will not use it. The ones on the market range from basic metal to panned ones that are very comfortable. You can get as fancy as you prefer.

The same is true of the full body harness safety systems that come with the treestands or are available as an after market item. They are in small, medium and large but are adjustable within those ranges. Most have a weight certification marked on the unit.

Remember to be sure you are attached to the tree from the time your foot leaves the ground until you return. Smith also wants you to have the tree strap above your head so that the life line attached to the harness is tight when you are seated. One should just be able to feel a tug when seated. When you stand it comes down to the middle of your back and not below the waist. If you do fall out of the stand it will only be a fall of about a foot.

Smith suggests that new treestand owners take it out back and place it in a tree about 4 feet above the ground. Then test the harness by falling out of it with the system attached and under the supervision of another person. Hunters do not need to go out in the woods and fall out of a stand without knowing what to expect.

One case studied by Smith was of a hunter in that situation who panicked when he was unable to get back into his stand. He unfastened the leg straps. The harness rode up around his throat and suffocated him.

It is vital that one make sure the treestand is properly and securely installed. Keep the harness system on while on the stand as well as while getting in and out. Unloaded firearms and bows should be brought to the stand via a haul line. They should not be in your possession while climbing in and out of the stand.

Keeping Smith’s research in mind may make your hunt this year, safe and secure.

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