The deer stands that we use, if left in the woods year after year, need to be looked at before every season begins as well as every time that you use that location. Many parts of the deer stand can either malfunction or just plain fall apart throughout the days left in the weather.
There are many varieties of stands and ways of getting into the stand, so we are going to look at the hang on stand with the hang on climbing sticks. Both of these are light weight and easy to carry, but are typically installed before the season comes around as it takes a bit of time to set them up.
First thing to look at on the climbing sticks are the section locking pins. Making sure that each pin is all the way through the square tubing and that the locking mechanism is flipped over the pin so that the pin can’t back out of the hole and possibly come apart. For the most part, this can be done visually from the ground, giving yourself a bit of reassurance that you can climb the sticks safely.
Also, the holding straps that are tied around the tree need to be looked at for any signs of rotting or any signs that the hardware is failing at these tie points is critical as well. These holding straps keep the climbing sticks tight to the tree so that it is fixed without any movement as you progress upwards into the stand.
As you are climbing, glance at the welds on the sticks to see if they are coming apart—usually a heavy coat of rust is a clue. Extreme caution needs to be used if you don’t take that section out, as any items that are cracked, need to be taken out and replaced. One thing that you really don’t want to do is fall out of the stand as there are so many things that are going to happen and no one wants to experience that.
Make sure that the strap winch is tight and locked into position, so that the strap doesn’t slip through when there is weight applied to the stand. Always look at any and all hardware for wear and tear as the elements really are not kind to these items.
Now that the holding parts have been checked and you feel they are good, look at the wire mesh of the floor of the stand so that it is still secured to the framework of the stand. Clean off any debris that may have accumulated and ease yourself onto the stand.
Always have a strap that is tied around the tree above you and to your body harness so that if any of these items were to fail while you are in them the strap will prevent broken bones and possibly save your life if you were ever to fall to the ground. This strap is definitely your most valuable item compared to anything else that you have with you.
Now is the time to sit back and enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer you, with the squirrels that make every sound resemble that of a deer coming towards you. Hunting from a tree stand definitely gives the hunter an advantage, but with that, common sense and some precautions will make your hunt a safe and enjoyable one.