My 8-year-old son, Hunter, is absolutely eaten up with shooting his bow. He just can’t get enough of it. When he started shooting, I told him the same thing a wise woodsman once told me: “Son, when you have a weapon in your hand, any weapon, there can be no oops. A single oops and someone can die.”
This past fall I took Hunter along to play musical trees with some of my stands. As I stood at the base of that first tree attaching my lifeline, I looked at him and said, “Son, when you decide to leave the ground — whether it’s 5 feet or 30 feet — there can be no oops.” He smiled, and I could tell he caught my drift.
I realize when it comes to bowhunting, everyone has their own opinions on how to go about certain things. I’m fine with that. But most of us learned in grade school there is a difference between fact and opinion. It’s a fact that every year we lose some of our hunting brethren to treestand accidents. In 2011, there were 23 reported treestand deaths. Now, how about another fact that should create some chills — every treestand death/accident in recent years could have been prevented with a proper safety harness used in conjunction with a lifeline. Yes, when it comes to treestand safety, there is no room for an “oops.”
So take a moment and look at how treestand and treestand safety manufacturers have gone the extra mile to ensure your time above the ground is comfortable, enjoyable and safe.
Summit (256-353-0634; www.summitstands.com) has added the Peak to its innovative line of Crush treestands for 2014. Constructed with a quick, simple and easy-to-use attachment system, the Peak is said to be a breeze to hang. Other notable features of this 22-pound treestand include a padded backrest, padded arms and a folding profile.
Millennium’s (601-932-5832; millenniumstands.com) new M100U was designed with the ideas of weight, quietness, strength, security and comfort in mind. In addition, according to Millennium, every angle, hinge and weld of this treestand has been tested under extreme conditions by reputable hunters. Constructed from aluminum, this 11½-pound hang-on sports a 20x38-inch platform and boasts a durable powdercoat finish.
Advanced Treestand Technologies (870-725-2024; www.advancedtreestands.com) has given its already popular Smackdown Series of treestands a boost for 2014. Showcasing a dual ratcheting system, dual ratchet locks and a claw support arm, this stand is all about safety and efficiency. Now available with the Stow and Go system, allowing you to completely remove the seat and platform while installing the stand and then quickly place them back in position, this stand has plenty to offer. Other new-for-2014 additions include sound killers, a larger seat and coated stainless-steel cables.
Family Tradition Treestands (517-543-3926; www.familytraditiontreestands.com) adds another stalwart ladder stand to its arsenal. Branded the DD14, this stand features galvanized tubular steel for added structural integrity and maximum rust resistance. Promising comfort is the Ergonomic Support System, which takes the load off your spinal column, back, hips and legs so you can keep hunting all day long. Also pleasing is the ultra-rigid Dual-Rail Ladder, which was designed to eliminate the need for a brace-to-tree connection.
Ameristep’s (800-847-8269; www.ameristep.com) Hyde Skywalker and Cliffhanger treestands feature rugged and durable cast aluminum platforms which Ameristep believes will outperform hollow tubing construction. Both boast single-piece construction and showcase no welds, seams, tubes or rivets. With a minimum number of moving parts and zero noise-making connections, these roomy 21 1/2x33-inch treestands should make great aerial partners.
Robinson Outdoors (800-397-1927; www.robinsonoutdoors.com) unleashes an impressive trio of 2014 treestand safety products. The smaller, lighter and easier-to-use LiveWireG2 was designed, in the event of a fall, to engage slowly and lower the hunter back to the dirt with its 25 feet of SpiderBraid line. ScentBlocker’s introduction of the FeatherLite offers early-season hunters a light, fully integrated treestand safety hunting apparel option. Showcasing patented technologies, the FeatherLite was designed to provide full-featured safety with freedom from straps, buckles, noise, weight and hassle. Pairing safety with technology is the iHunt Fall Call. In the event of a fall, the strap’s breakaway threading separates, removing the micro USB from the device. Fall Call sends a Bluetooth message to your smartphone, and your phone’s iHunt app will automatically dial your emergency contact.
Summit’s (256-353-0634; www.summitstands.com) Seat-O-The-Pants STS Fastback Harness includes a lineman-style climbing belt, adjustable design and leg straps engineered to prevent leg or groin trauma in the event of a fall. Promising 360-degree movement from any stand, this harness is long on safety, comfort and mobility.
Hunter Safety System (877-296-3528; www.huntersafetysystem.com) offers its new Ladies Contour Harness. The Comfort Cool liner and breathable fabrics should give this vest an airy feel, and the front-zipper design and three separate Right-Fit zone stretch panels allow the vest to fit comfortably over light or heavy layers while accenting the contour of the wearer. A harness for all seasons — the HSS NRA-licensed Patriot — is a stylish, reversible harness with Realtree Xtra on one side and blaze orange on the other. The new Ultra-Lite Flex Harness hugs the body, allowing unrestricted movement and comfort. Other features include the HSS 1¼-inch upper-body webbing, tether and waist buckle.
Ameristep’s (800-847-8269; www.ameristep.com) Hurricane PowerGRAB was designed to help eliminate treestand accidents as hunters enter and exit their stands. Said to provide excellent balance and stability, the large, oval-shaped PowerGRAB maximizes the surface area you have to grab as you make the transition to and from your stand.