Thoughts on treestands

Ron SteffeOver the past week and a half I’ve been spending some time in the woods where I’ll be doing my archery deer hunting come October.

Primarily I’ve been searching for two things — signs of whitetail activity for exact spots to hunt, and the optimum tree to ascend with my portable treestand at or near those places I’ll choose to hunt.

My stand is a two section apparatus in which a smaller section is joined with the main stand by two straps that dangle between the two sections. The smaller section is a climbing aid that allows me to place my feet securely into the device, then stand and lift the main portion until I reach my desired height.

Gone are the days where I could merely grab round the tree, hold my weight and ascend with the stand on my feet.

When I find a tree I’ll use for hunting, one that is new to me, I will attempt to climb that tree at least once before actually hunting from it. This allows me to find how safe and comfortable it is, my vision area, and to check for shooting lanes which are brush free and will not deflect an arrow.

I always lug my stand on my back for each and every hunt. There are multiple reasons why I do this. One, it enables me to change positions depending to how deer sign changes. Sometimes moving a short distance will put me in range of deer that were moving past slightly out of range.

For archery hunting especially, this can make all the difference between success or close calls.

Secondly, I’m hunting private property I do not own, and I do not want to infringe upon the owners generosity by performing the unsightly act of hanging permanent stands throughout his woodlot, nor doing any damage to his trees, which permanent stands can sometimes do. When hunting public land it is illegal to damage trees, so I also avoid that problem with my stand on those occasions I’m in public woods.

Lastly, leaving your stand in any woods may put you at risk of being a victim of theft. I know too many hunters who have had their stands stolen.

Of course the foremost concern of any hunter using a treestand should be safety. “Doubles” is a term my hunting companions and I have coined to mean one tree with two separate trunks that push skyward close to each other. The benefit of this condition is that the nearby section you are not climbing will offer a greater sense of balance and security when touching it, along with a bit more obscurity to passing deer.

Safety harnesses have evolved quickly in recent years, and every hunter climbing a tree should use some form of this device to help protect against falls. Hitting the ground from 20 feet or so is never an event without serious injury.

Hunting from a treestand can provide a huge advantage from the standpoint of better vision of approaching game and a lessened degree of spooking that animal. Just do it safely.

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