View Full Version : Tree Stand safety

April 10, 2007, 10:07 AM
Well folks, my hunting land has hogs on it now which will have me back up in stands again until they're gone. It is presenting me with the necessity of using a climbing stand for the first time. I'm seeing ladders and steps for sale. What should I know about strap on ladders and steps as well as the stand itself to use them as safely as possible?

April 10, 2007, 11:12 AM
I've only used "stand alone" elevated stands and ground blinds. We are overrun with hogs, but I have yet to have one move toward me one winded. Shots are usually ~100 yards and they tend to go swimmin' instead of charge (long story).

IF I used a tree stand I would make sure the bastid hogs didn't take my ladder once I got comfy in the tree. Other than that I'd use several tie downs to secure the ladder and use a rope to lift the unloaded rifle.

April 10, 2007, 12:10 PM
Most climbing stands are designed to allow you to climb the tree with a sit-down-stand-up motion and then sit in it to hunt. You get down by reversing the ratchet-like action.

Strap-on steps, climbing sticks, and screw-in steps are designed to be used with a hang-on type stand.

Best advice I can give is to get someone to demonstrate both for you. Preferably another hunter with experience with them or even a good salesperson. Practice with your chosen system in a controlled setting without gun, gear, heavy clothing, etc.

Three safety tips:

Always use a safety harness, especially while climbing up, down into or out of the stand. It only takes one fall to turn you into Christopher Reeves.

Use a rope to get your gear up to the stand after you're set and lower it down before you climb down. Make sure you don't have a round in the chamber while roping your gun.

Tell someone exactly where to find you and carry a cell-phone. I've heard of people falling and not being found for a while.

April 10, 2007, 12:45 PM
The most important thing to know is this...with climbers or strap-on stands:

Always, ALWAYS use a harness. That's like rule #1 of gun safety rules, in the sense that if you folow it, a lot of other stuff can go wrong and you'll still probably live and come out relatively unscathed.

With ladder stands, I will climb up in them and sit without a harness, but the minute I feel sleepy, I climb down. I still prefer to have a harness in "bare" ladder stands though, attaching it AFTER climbing up. With ladder stands that have an enclosure of sorts, such as a rail that I drape with camo burlap (such as tripod stands), I feel safe not using a harness at all- even if I fall asleep, hitting the rail & drapery as I slump over will be enough to wake me up before I fall.

I don't know how much else you already know, but climbers only work on straight smooth trees like pines or cottonwoods. Smooth meaning not branches down low in your way (obviously).

You should change out all nylon straps at least every third year, or preferably every other year to be safe. Weather takes its toll on them.

What else you wanna know?

Oh, before you go buying an expensive climbing stand, you may just want to do it the cheap & easy way, and invest in one of these instead:


Much more portable & light - take it home and out of the weather when done. Move around more so the game won't peg you down, it is its own built-in harnes, etc. Allegedly quite comfortable too.