Friday, August 20, 2004
Tree stand hunting is a hunting style and discipline of its own. It is all about remaining perfectly still for hours on end, while remaining alert and focused.
What it is not is an easy way out of the hiking that hunting entails. Scouting for a perfect site for your tree stand with the best odds of bagging game calls for almost as much legwork as traditional hunting.
For those interested in giving tree-stand hunting a try, here are some basics.
What Constitutes a Tree Stand?
Tree stands take many shapes and forms. Hunters will be safest if the choose one of the mid-range portable climbing or hanging stands that meet industry safety standards rather than cobbling something together at home.
Selecting a Stand Site
A good site for a tree stand is one where the animal you are hunting will be likely to pass during legal shooting hours. An example is a travel route between feeding and bedding areas. A stand near a well-traveled alternate route can help a hunter to intercept game put on the move by another hunter in the area.
Other important factors to consider are prevailing winds, backdrop cover, and shooting lanes. Locate your stand downwind of known travel routes.
First and foremost, use a safety harness. The best models are chest harnesses, rather than a waistband.
Good warm clothing is very important, as lack of movement and the lowering sun means you’ll be notably colder at day’s end than you were earlier. Bring a good flashlight and let someone know where your stand is, and when to expect you home.
Tree Stand Advantages
If your pounding heart doesn’t prevent you from aiming, shots will often be right below you, ensuring a quick humane kill.
An often unmentioned benefit of a tree stand is the meditative quality of watching the world from this new perspective as the colors of the sky change, the trees drop leaves and flocks of waterfowl pass overhead.
TREE STAND HUNTING SAFETY
Here are some important safety precautions when using tree stands:
* use a fall restraint system, preferably a full-body harness, any time your feet leave the ground. This includes climbing and descending the tree.
* make sure there is no slack in the fall restraint tether when in a sitting position.
* choose a harness that will keep you upright and will not restrict your breathing.
* avoid permanent stands; they weaken with age, damage trees and are eyesores.
* choose a tree stand commercially built to industry standards.
* read and follow manufacturer's guidelines.
* practice with the stand before hunting from it.
* inspect all stands and equipment regularly.
* maintain three points of contact with the climbing system or ladder at all times while climbing.
* use a haul line to pull up gear.
* if hunting with firearms, make sure they are unloaded and the muzzle is covered.
* never attach the line near the trigger or trigger guard.
* use three people to set-up and take down a ladder type tree stand.
* hunt with a plan and a buddy who knows your plan and can come help you if you don't return at an established time.