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Elevated stands place the hunter above ground level. They can be tree stands placed in or against trees, or free-standing structures. They have become increasingly popular in recent years with both firearm and bow hunters. While they offer certain advantages, they also have some drawbacks, including a degree of risk.

Preparing To Hunt From A Tree Stand

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Video Transcript
Rob

OK, now, the first key to success with hunting with our tree stand is that we have to find a place to put it where the animals are. And that’s why we have a trail camera. Let’s go.

Rob takes a memory card from the trail camera.

Rob

All right. So if any animals have been walking around in the area or here in this field, we’ll find out with this card. We definitely have animals here. This is going to be the spot to set up our tree stand. But this is only the first key to having a successful hunt. You know what the others are? All right. Now the second key is properly setting your stand. This is a biggie. Actually, hold this for me.

Rob hands gear to the cameraman and adjusts his backpack.

Rob

Now, when we assembled the stand, we read through the manufacturer’s instructions.

The cameraman returns Rob’s gear.

Rob

Thank you. And, of course, we brought them with us to help with setup. Plus, we inspected the stand to make sure everything’s in top shape. And we do that every time before we use it. And I’m carrying with me a communication device that I know works with me right here where I’m hunting. And of course for safety, you’re here.

The cameraman gives a thumbs up.

Rob

The buddy system. All right. Let’s go. So whether you’re hunting or you’re hanging your stands, it’s important to write down your details with someone who expects you to come home.

Rob walks up to a tree with a tilted wooden platform and some nailed-in wooden steps.

Rob

Ah, homemade stand. Look.

He flicks a step with his hand, and it spins on its nail. A wooden cross stands at the bottom of the tree.

Rob

You’re better off using the real deal because they meet approved safety standards. Let’s go. OK. So we know that this is a hot spot. But what tree do we pick?

On screen: WHICH TREE TO CHOOSE?

Rob

We got a crooked one. Well, we have a dead one. And this one is a little viney. And this one has got loose bark.

The cameraman whistles to signal Rob.

Rob

Oh yeah. You’re right. It’s a nice straight one, and it’s within the size limit of the stand that we’re using. Plus, it’s downwind of the trails. This is good. So it’s simple physics, right? You can’t prevent gravity from pulling you to the ground when you fall.

In the distance, a hunter falls out of a tree with a thud.

Rob

But you can prevent your body from slamming into the ground, and it’s called the fall-arrest system. And it has to be rated to your hunting weight, which is you and all of your gear. And it needs to be inspected each time before you use it.

The inspection checklist appears on screen: carabiners, leg attachments, belt, straps, tether.

Rob

All right, so here’s the big question. How do we get from down here to all the way up there so that we can safely hang our stand?

On screen: HOW WOULD YOU CLIMB? Four options appear: NAIL IN STEPS, SCREW IN STEPS, CLIMB NATURALLY, or STRAP ON SYSTEM. A cursor selects NAIL IN STEPS.

Rob

Uh, no. Nailing in steps like this is not a good idea. First, it damages the tree. And secondly—

Rob pulls the nailed-in step out of the tree with one hand.

Rob

—they can pull out while you’re climbing. Try again.

The cursor selects SCREW IN STEPS.

Rob

No. OK, screwing in steps like this is not a good idea. First, it damages the tree. Secondly, there is the potential that they can pull out. So try again.

The cursor selects CLIMB NATURALLY.

Rob

So, climbing naturally is not a good idea because you’re risking life and limb. So try again.

The cursor selects STRAP ON SYSTEM.

Rob

That’s right. You want something that’s secure and won’t damage the tree. And that is why I’m using this strap-on climbing system. And of course, for safety, well, you’re here. But I’m going to take this lineman’s belt and wrap it around the tree to prevent myself from falling while climbing. With so many different stands and climbing systems available, check out this website on how to install your type.

On screen: www.tmamobile.com/index.html

Rob

And whatever type, use the manufacturer’s instructions, use your buddy system, carry your communication device, and attach your fall-arrest system solidly to the tree before installing your climb system and stand. Then install your stand below the top of your climbing system. All right, so what is your best guess? When are you the most vulnerable to the bone-crushing effects of gravity up here?

On screen: WHEN ARE YOU MOST VULNERABLE?

Rob

Climbing up or down? Getting on or off your stand? Shooting from the stand? Preparing to hunt or leave? Actually, you’d be right no matter which one you chose because you’re vulnerable to falling during every single one of them if your fall-arrest system is not attached. So then here’s the question. How do you get safely in and out of your stand? Whether hanging stands or hunting, climbing up or down, remain attached to the tree with your lineman’s belt. To get past your stand, attach your tether to the tree belt placed above the stand before detaching your lineman’s belt.

On screen: Step DOWN onto the stand

Rob

Once you’re in the stand, readjust the tree belt so there’s no slack in your tether when you’re sitting. After hanging your stand, some fall-arrest systems can be installed that allow you to remain attached to your tether from the time you leave the ground until you return.

On screen: THREE POINTS OF CONTACT

Rob

No matter which system you choose, use three-point climbing. This is our gear elevator. And with that, I think we’re all ready for a hunt tomorrow.