Hunter Safety System is just a great story of good ‘ol American ingenuity,” according to David Langston, director of sales and marketing. “Two brothers and their childhood friend grew up hunting and fishing together. Then in 2000, John—the oldest of the three—was hunting when the base of his climber suddenly slipped off his feet and plummeted to the ground. John managed to grab on to the tree and shimmy down, but he got scraped up pretty good.”
John wasn’t sure how bad he may have been hurt—the situation, adrenaline, and it being after dark—so he grabbed his radio and called for help.
“When his brother arrived, he looked down at him and said, ‘You dummy! You weren’t wearing your safety harness.’ John looked at his brother, Jerry, and asked if he was wearing his harness. Jerry replied, ‘No, but I’m not the one who fell.’”
Back at their camper, the three hunting buddies got together and decided it was just crazy not to wear a safety harness. “They got to talking and realized they had kids and grandkids, wives and other loved ones,” Langston related “The conversation quickly turned to talk about how awful it would be to have to go and tell a loved that one of them had been crippled or killed simply because they did not wear a safety harness while doing something they just loved to do.”
John began to look at reasons he hadn’t worn his harness. He decided it was just too aggravating and tough to put on given the dangling straps and weave-through buckles, etc. “John decided that if he could just put it in a coat or maybe a vest he thought he [and others] would be more likely to wear it—and that’s basically how Hunter Safety System was born,” Langston said.
By 2001 the trio had a product ready for the market and sold about 1,400 units the first year. “Since that first year, we’ve sold…well, the number isn’t as important as the message that we feel truly blessed to have kept so many hunters safe,” Langston said.
Langston credits Hunter Safety System’s success to its willingness to listen to the consumer. “We are constantly hearing from consumers about how to make the product better. Every year, in May, we study customer comments from calls, thank you letters, concerns, complaints and ideas and compile those into designs to make the product better for the next year. That’s how we are able to continually improve the product year over year. We already have some great ideas for the next model.”
The New-For-2012 Hybrid
For several years, the HSS Pro Series has been its top-selling model. Then, last year, HSS came out with the Ultra Lite X-treme for customers wanting a harness-style system without the dangling buckles and weave-through straps. “We asked ourselves, ‘Why not combine the best of both worlds?’ So that’s what we did. We took the highlights of the Ultra X-treme harness and combined them with the pockets and features of the Pro Series. We are calling it “The Hybrid” and it should be available late Spring or early Summer,” stated Langston.
The early feedback from the shows has been extremely positive. “We are upgrading the fabrics and going to a newer material similar to what you would see on the high-end Scent-Lok suits.” Langston explained.
The Innovative Life Line System
Another big push for HSS is the Life Line system. “Our Life Line system allows the hunter to stay attached to the tree from the moment they leave the ground to the time they safely return. About 86 percent of treestand falls occur when climbing into your stand or when climbing out. The Life Line is designed to protect you the entire time you are off the ground—in the tree, during both the ascent and descent,” explained Langston.
“Building on the basic Life Line System is the Life Line system with two Prussic knots and carabineers. “Given the rise in the number of women getting into hunting and more hunters taking their children hunting with them, we want them to be attached and safe,” Langston added.
And back to the topic of a descent system, Langston had some strong opinions about descent systems. “We have been hammered to come up with a descent system, (a system where [in theory] after a fall you have a way to ease yourself back to the ground). As I said, the vast majority of falls (86 percent) happen while getting in or out of your stand. Most of the rest happen when a hunter falls asleep in his or her stand. Now, if I have my harness hooked up the proper way, and I fall asleep and fall out of my ladder stand or lock-on, why would I want to go all the way to the ground? I just want to get back into my stand and hunt,” Langston argued.
He continued, “Either way, the percentages requiring a descent system is so small compared to the need to promote a system like the Life Line. If you hang a Life Line when you hang your stand, you’ll be attached from the moment you leave the ground all the way through the moment you safely return. Make no mistake here. We [Hunter Safety System] do not want to be negative towards another product or company. This is simply why the “Leader” in treestand safety has chosen to promote and endorse the Life Line System — it is the only product that allows the hunter to stay attached, truly, from the moment they leave the ground to the moment they return.”
Contact Hunter Safety System at (256) 773-7732; www.HunterSafetySystem.com