Are You Pulling Your Stands? You Should Be.

04/28/2016

We are quickly coming to that part of the year where it will be nearly impossible to pull your tree stands and store them for the summer.  Once it warms up a bi

t around the country, the thick woods and hot temps can make dragging your stands down treacherous.  Then once the farmers begin to sow seeds and get their crops in the ground, driving your truck right up to them becomes a pipe dream. You will wish this job had been done months ago!  No…for most of us turkey season is the last opportunity to pull them down and take them home.

What?  You don’t pull your stands? (I can actually hear some of you saying out loud “I have killed deer every year from that tree, I am not about to take that stand down!)  I’m clear.  Hanging stands can be a tough job when you do it right and once you get it just the way you like it, the thought of taking it down doesn’t make a lot of sense.  I have seen tree stands that have literally grown into a tree. I have been told to get in a stand that hasn’t been hunted in 6 years.  I have even seen a ladder stand completely engulfed in briars and poison ivy to the point where you couldn’t even see it. (it literally looked like it had been eaten by the vines!)

So what’s the big deal? Why should you take the time to pull these stands that have produced year after year?

Because it just takes once. It just takes one squirrel to chew most of the way through a strap to make the next time a stand is used the last time.  It takes one bad ice storm to weaken cables creating an actual trap door scenario. Water (frozen or not) and oxygen combine to literally eat stands on the tree. A stand left in a tree all winter, spring and summer is a weaker stand than it was when you hung it.  The only way to prevent this deterioration is to pull your stands and take them home for a good inspection. Pick a nice spring day and give each one of your stands the once over. Checking cables, straps, buckles and even seat cushions. It’s the perfect time to tighten that loose bolt that won’t keep your seat up or maybe even throw a new coat of paint onto an old stand.  

By now most deer hunters that hunt from elevated platforms know what a “lifeline style” rope is and how to use it. Every stand you hang should include this style of rope reaching from above the platform all the way to the ground.  These ropes MUST be taken down every year to avoid weakening them by leaving them in the UV light, wind and rain. This says nothing of them being chewed on by every rodent in or around your tree.

I understand the reluctance to pull your stands, only to rehang them in a few months. I have a handful of trees that just work and I simply love to sit in them. There is no reason we can’t hang that stand in the exact same tree and in the same position. It just makes too much sense, to do it after a thorough inspection to make sure myself and my hunting partners are as safe as possible.

Truthfully, most of us have thought about hanging “that” stand somewhere else and just never take the time to do it. So, before that field gets planted or the bugs take over or turkey season is over…Yank that stand down, give it a good look and then put your new plan in place later in the summer when it’s time to hang it again.  

As always, wear your safety harness whenever you are climbing or sitting in a tree and be safe!