Tragically, every hunting season we read and hear of accidents in the woods that reults in severe injuries and even deaths from hunting activities. Not to be a “downer” but it is so unfortunate when accidents occur while hunting. The most prevalent of these accidents is falls from tree stands, whether they are climbing stands, lock on stands, ladder stands, or the worst, home-made wooden stands.
Many of those who have fallen admit they were not careful, failed to plan for a safe ascent, or blamed equipment failure. All these are valid but, none are a reasonable excuse!
Several years ago, after almost becoming one of those who has fallen, I decided to just stop using climbing stands. I had recently purchased a climbing stand that was one of the most expensive and touted across the industry as “the safest climbing stand on the market”. But you are still climbing! I has ascended to about 25 feet up a tree and attached the safety harness to secure the device and my hunting harness when the whole climber slid down the tree about 5 or 6 feet! Luckily, I had not yet roped my gun up to me and I was able to turn and grab the tree trunk them re-position the climber so it clamped back to the tree. I then carefully climbed down, removed the stand and went home. I later gave it to a friend witha a fair warning about my near accident.
I then started using only ladder stands and this has resulted in fewer climbing incidents but, I have still had a few “moments” that could have resulted in a serious fall. Last year I started taking my granddaughter with me on nearly every hunt so I stopped using our fixed ladder stands and stuck to hunting from shooting houses we have built and placed around many of the green fields. I also have a couple of smaller huts in the woods and I have found them to be effective so long as you do a good job with your scent elimination processes and also using good cover scents to help “jam” the deer’s olfactories with a scent such as “Earth scent or Pine scent”.
For Christmas last year I was given a “pop-up” blind that was designed for a two-person occupancy. It sets up in less than 3 minutes and does a great job in providing concealment, wind blocking, amd even muffles noise (like from an I-pod game) just a little bit! The use of these portable blinds is a great way to hunt from the ground position, attain concealment even at the edge of a green field especially if you add some cover to the blind like cedar limbs, dead brush, leaves and small limbs clipped from privet hedges, etc. We used one to set up on turkey during the spring and will be using several of them this year since I bought 2 more and plan to leave them in the field anchored down and ready to hunt from. Just add a couple of canvas folding chairs and they will make you a great ambush zone to help you bag those deer this year and you won’t have to worry about falling out of that tree stand!
Be careful, plan your hunt, tell someone where you will be and if your cell phone works where you hunt keep it with you! Just put it on silent!