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Ever Take A Tumble From A Tree Stand?


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#1 Geoff / TBow

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 11:02 AM

Today there's all kinds of information and recommendations and equipment that will allow you to climb safely in and out of your tree stand and to stay there once you're in it.

But I can recall a day when you had to be part monkey to be a bow hunter who hunted from elevated perches. That was before the day when safety belts and safety harnesses were the rule of thumb.

I can recall the mornings when the sandman would make regular visits to me while perched in an elevated stand. So I'd either rope myself to the tree or position myself while wrapped around the tree, that would allow me to wedge myself into a tree crotch to keep me from from doing a one and a half gainer to the ground some 15 to 20 feet below. Amazingly enough, I have never taken a spill from a tree stand, but I have had a couple of hairy tumbles while ascending and descending a tree.

I was hunting in Pennsylvania back in the 70s and remember climbing down out of my stand when I slipped from a tree branch and slid about 6 feet to the ground. I never missed a beat as my feet hit the ground where I immediately did a rear sommersault and ended up standing on my feet. One of my buddies was standing near the tree watching me get down and he started laughing saying I looked like Maxwell Smart from Get Smart as I merely brushed myself off without missing beat and said, "O.K. I'm ready! Let's go!".

Then another time I was ascending a cedar tree (not alot of good branches on a small cedar tree), when the upper branch that I reached for snapped in my hand. As I slid down the tree, my legs got caught on another branch where I became inverted, then continued to slide down while upsidedown. I frantically was grasping for tree branches which kept snapping off in my hands. I finally came to a stop with my head not 12" from the ground. There was no Get Smart attitude on that one as I kissed the ground and uttered the words, Thank you Lord!".

So how 'bout y'all? Anyone take a spill or two in your bowhunting expeditions up a tree or two? And do you all use harnesses today?

Geoff / TBow
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#2 Rowdy Yates

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 12:36 PM

Use the Seat of the Pants harness and this year I bought the Hunter Safety System Harness. I mainly use a Summit climber treestand. While I climb I'm always roped to the tree and don't release my hook up until I climb all the way down. I have heard stories from guys in camp that have had near fatal falls but never had one of those close calls yet. I pray I never do.
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#3 vcross

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 12:41 PM

Had only been hunting a few years. I was hunting an area by myself. My husband dropped me off & told me fire 3 warning shots if I needed help (before we had radios). I think he jinxed me! I climbed up in a ladder stand 15 feet. (forgot my safety belt but a ladder stand was safe right?) I had been moving the stand closer & closer to a buck's area. Of course he came to my right & was under the stand looking straight up at me when I spotted him. When he walked behind me I turned & shot (missed the deer). Recoil threw me out of the stand & onto a downed pine tree. Broke the stock on my gun. Oh yeah, the warning shots are hard to manage when your gun falls apart in your hands. Had nerve damage in my leg for over a year but nothing else major. I crawled to the logging road & sat the 5 hours before any one came to get me. Meanwhile, my leg swelled up over my boot.

A few hours later another buck walked within 10 yards & here I sat with a broken gun!!! I started to throw it at him. I learned a lesson very cheaply though. I always have my safety belt on now!!!!

#4 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 12:53 PM

I too came through the very early era of some of the most dangerous tree stands known to man. My first stand was a strap on model and I nearly fell from it only once. I used screw in steps and was one short so I had to kind of heave myself up onto the stand. Well when I did this little aireal manuver at about 15 feet the bottom support of the stand kicked to one side. Guess the good Lord was watching as I was able to maintain a grip of sorts with my left hand on the top of the stand and was able after a minute or two get my foot on a tree step and save a possible fatal fall. I didn't even bother to try to hunt that evening. I just gathered up my equipment and went and bought a Baker climbing stand with the safety strap. I did thoroughly enjoy taking a sledge hammer to that strap on. My wife was irritated a bit when I told her I bought a Baker but when she saw the huge bruise and scrape on my left arm she approved the purchase.
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#5 Whitetiger

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 02:01 PM

One time (before my climber was stolen), I had the bottom fall when I went to stand to move the top up. I caught myself with the top and the bottom I had tied off to the top so it didnt go to far.

#6 Whip

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 03:22 PM

I jumped out of a tree stand to retreive a big buck one time....does that count? :)
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#7 Spirithawk

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 05:12 PM

Last year during a managed muzzleloader hunt a guy that was camped next to us fell 20 ft. onto his head. We helped in the search and found him at midnight. We suspect he fell out that morning and had spent a day and a half dazed and in bad shape. He had crushed all the bones in his face and had to be airlifted out. If you hunt from a treestand use a safety harness. There's nothing funny about ending up a cripple or worse!

#8 Woody

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 07:56 PM

I never ever go in to my treestand with out my safty gear 3:)
never took a tumble yet :pray:
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#9 mudduck

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 12:19 AM

27 years ago,opening morning of gun deer season, hunting private land, and of course you had to be on stand at least 45 minutes before it got light. I had a home made wooden stand about 18 feet high in a maple tree. Reached the final step and put a knee on the stand, shifted my weight, and the next thing i know is im free falling in the pitch black and i know its gonna hurt.Bad news was I fractured both heels, kinda thought I did by all the strange colors they had turned by night, But I could manage by walking on tip toes, so I waited till after the season to see the doc. Good news was I lived, Kind of a wake up call to knock off the stupid stuff. I had carefully trimmed around the stand, I chopped the shrubs down to the roots to leave no tell tale "white ends" or, as could have been the case, lethal pungi sticks. Im not sure if they had harness that far back, but if they did, I pretty sure only sissies and Liberals wore em. I dont get into a stand without one now, and lots of times im only hanging it 2-3 feet off the ground

#10 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 07:15 AM

Looking back to my younger days I have to agree that using a safety device was for sissys as was using hearing protection. In one respect I was very lucky not to have seriously injured or killed myself by falling out of a tree stand and now I am paying the price of uncovered ears with some profound hearing loss at certain frequencies. Besides I can hear crickets all year long.
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#11 Jeremiah

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 11:23 AM

I have never fallen and pray that I never do. I did have one close call in particular that has stuck with me over the years. It happened the first year I started using climbing treestands. Back then, they didn't supply 5 point body harnesses. (They hadn't even started supplying those crappy upper body only harnesses yet.) All you got with a new stand was a belt that went around your waste and then around the tree. It just didn't seem worth even bothering with, so I didn't.

It was around noon. I had been on stand since well before first light. I was tired and feeling a bit hungry, so I decided to climb down and hit the road in search of a sandwich. While descending the tree I was in, the foot platform of the stand hung up on a knot on the back of the tree. In attempting to wiggle the stand down over the knot, I managed to also wiggle my feet right out of the stirrups on the foot platform. Due to the awkward maneuvering I had been doing, my weight was not completely on the seat platform. Free of my feet, the foot platform zipped down the tree and I almost went right with it. The only thing that kept me from going was the fact that I did at least have my arms on the sides of the seat platform and was able to catch myself from the fall. I managed to sit back onto the platform and allow my heart to settle again in my chest ( :eek: ) Thankfully, my stands foot platform was tied to the seat platform, so I was able to pull it back up into place after a little more maneuvering. (It actually ended up crocked on the tree. Had I fallen with it I wouldn't have just landed on it no worse for the wear. Who knows what would have happened.)

I began wearing that silly belt from then on. Within a couple years people finally got the notion that they didn't help much. First, they started telling us to wear them up on our chests and then within a year or two the first treestand-specific 5 point harnesses hit the market. I've worn one ever since... Even when using a ladder stand. I also carry a single tree step in my jacket pocket so in case of a fall I can hopefully attach it and give myself something to stand on and/or pull myself up with so that I can attempt to get back onto my stand if possible.

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#12 sschneid73

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 02:13 PM

Not yet but have 2 close friends that have. One broke his back and several other bones and was in a body cast for a long time. The other friend shattered his leg and is now partially cripple and on disability. I try to be a safe as possible and always let my wife know which stand I plan to hunt just incase. In both of those instaces these guys had to crawl several yards to get to where they could get help.

Steve

#13 sschneid73

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 02:17 PM

Crickets is right Paul. Mine though came from a blow to the head along with no ear protection. Some nights I hardly sleep because of the ringing. I have gotten used to it though even though I average only around 4 hours of sleep a night.

Steve

#14 Geoff / TBow

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 02:41 PM

One thing I do now, as I tend to hunt a lot by myself, is to carry a cell phone with me. I keep it shut off in case someone tries to call just as a big 'ol whitetail steps into vision. And I keep it either on my belt or in my pocket. If I were to keep it in my fanny pack, it might just not end up on the ground with me in the event of a fall as I hang my pack in the tree next to my stand. And after a fall, I'm not sure that too many of us would be able to manage an ascent up the tree to retrieve it.

Geoff / TBow
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#15 silvertip-co

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 06:35 PM

GA... 1985...yeah I did. Dang near gored myself on the big buck I shot as I landed next to his antlers. And dang near broke my back as I landed on it. My 264 however was held high to the heavens so nothing broke on it. Whew...

Moreal of the story... tie the ladder stand fast to the tree FIRST, not after ya fall.

Edited by silvertip-co, 18 September 2008 - 06:36 PM.

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