With some cooler temperatures in the air Friday, I decided to take some time and retrieve a broken treestand from my hunting grounds.
As it turns out, I am horrible when it comes to taking treestands down after the bowhunting season is over. The past 4 years I've left my stand out all year long. Every year is a new excuse: "Well, I'm too busy with school"..."I completely forgot about it"..."I wanted to take it down at the end of the season, but the ground was frozen and I couldn't get the ladder out of the ground." Sometimes all three of these are used simultaneously to make one grand excuse for the job that never got done. With my goals of being overly prepared for bow season this October and November, I need all my stands in good functioning order...and this one was definitely not.
This is my only treestand that is not a ladder-type stand. The ladder stand provides exceptional safety and comfort. This little stand, however, was ideal for throwing on my back and tossing in a tree. It was actually purchased for $5 at a garage sale--with the price of treestands today, who could say no? I placed this stand in a tree overlooking 3 or 4 crossing deer trails. I bought a pair of climbing sticks to put on the tree and it soon became one of my favorite stands. I saw many deer from this stand and shot my biggest buck to date out of it. Two years of being in a tree withstanding the elements, however has taken its toll.
I was actually in the stand when the seat broke. It was a very scary moment. The seat is essentially a piece of fabric folded over the metal frame and sewed to itself. After a couple years, the thread became weak and ripped under my weight. I landed flat on the foot-platform praying to some higher power that the platform cables wouldn't break. I was wearing my safety belt, but I don't really want to find out how well it works. Since the damage had been done last season, I let my laziness kick in and left it up all year again.
Taking down the stand was a success. I use ratchet straps to firmly attach my stands to the trees which allows for quick removal. They have braved the weather just as the treestand has, so I'll have to make sure I inspect them (as well as my climbing sticks) thoroughly before the stand gets put back up.
**Anytime you climb into a tree--be it to put a stand up, hunt, or to take the stand down--be sure to wear a safety belt every time. I know it can be a hassle (and today was no exception...it probably took me longer to get my safety belt situated than it took to take the stand down), but it is worth it. And even if you're not afraid of dying, you need to realize there is a good chance you won't die...but you could be severely paralyzed for the rest of your life. Be responsible--wear the safety belt.**
I'm still weighing options on how to go about repairing the seat on this treestand. I was thinking of bolting a piece of wood on the metal frame and creating more of a "permanent" seat out of it. This method might require more maintenance, but might be worth a shot. With whatever fix I go with, it will be sure to be secure for the duration of the season.
And with every trip into my hunting grounds, it is always nice to see some deer sign close to my stand!!