Maintaining Treestands key to safe season next fall

If you’re looking for something to do this time of year that will help ensure you have a safe and
successful deer season next year, taking care of your treestands now is a good investment of time.

Treestands have come a long way in the last 20 years. When I began hunting in the early 1990’s a fancy
treestand was one made out of pressure treated lumber. Lesser stands were slapped together with any
scrap wood my friends and I could find. Such stands were used season after season until they eventually
rotted away and were replaced.

These days, treestands are made of metal and if properly taken care of, can last for many years. There are
countless models of treestands manufactured by too many companies to list. Ladder stands, climbing
stands, fixed stands and tower stands are the different styles of treestands available for purchase. You
need to take the time to maintain your stands properly. Every time you climb onto one of these treestands you are potentially risking your life.

Every year you should remove and inspect your treestands so you can perform routine maintenance on all
of the many parts that keep a treestand together and securely fastened to a tree. Just to clarify, do not
leave your treestands up year after year. If you hunt in an area with extreme weather conditions, like ice,
snow, and below zero temperatures, found most of the Midwest, it is best to pull your stands immediately
after season.

Once you begin inspecting and performing maintenance on your treestands there are a number parts you
need to pay attention to. First of all, closely examine the straps or chain that secures the treestand to the
tree. Straps are fabric and when fabric gets wet, then dries, then gets wet, then dries it dry rots. Look for
any signs of fraying or spots of weakness in the fabric straps. Especially check any areas of stitching. If
you are using ratchet straps, make sure the ratchet area closes and locks properly.

You should replace safety straps at least every couple years. Chains that are covered in rust need to go.
Rust weakens metal and you don’t want your life depending on a rusty, weak chain. Simply head to your
local hardware store and buy a replacement length of the strongest chain material they sell. Go ahead and spend an extra few bucks to replace the bolts and screws that hold the chain on. Some chains are coated in tubing to keep the chains taught. If the tubing is frayed, you should replace it. Not only does the tubing keep your chains quieter it, adds rigidity to the chain. The manufacturer intended for the stand operate with tubing on the chain, so assume there is a reason for it.

Other areas of your treestand that you need to pay attention to are all the bolts or locking pins, the cables that hold up the platform, and all the welded joints. Once bolts and locking pins have become rusty, they must be replaced. Threads on bolts may wear out when rusty and with the weight of a grown man on a treestand, you don’t want to rely on worn threads. Check the cables for fraying. If there is any, they must be replaced. Also examine the bolts that hold the cables in place. If there is any play in the bolts, they need to be tightened. If you examine the welded areas of your stand and find any cracks, no matter how small, you must have the stand repaired or replaced. Don’t put stress on an already distressed piece of equipment. It’s only a matter of time until it completely fails.

Falling from treestands is credited as one of (if not the number one) cause of hunting related accidents.
Yet the majority of treestand accidents don’t occur when someone is already positioned in the stand. Most treestand accidents occur as someone is climbing in or out of their stand. Whenever you go out to check your stands and take them down always wear a four-point safety harness.  And don’t just wear the harness and climb the tree unattached to a safety rope or lineman’s rig. You need to be hooked up the entire time you are off the ground.

Nothing is more important than being safe in the field. Don’t take unnecessary risks. Perform routine
maintenance on your treestands every year and pay strict attention to safety. If you do, then chances are
you’ll enjoy a lifetime of accident free treestand hunting.

See you down the trail…
Brandon Butler
bbutler@driftwoodoutdoors.com

For more Driftwood Outdoors, check out the podcast HERE or anywhere podcasts are streamed.


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