Carbon Express Arrows
Tree stand fall
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
Doofle 02-Nov-17
Doofle 02-Nov-17
Scoot 02-Nov-17
LBshooter 02-Nov-17
LBshooter 02-Nov-17
GF 02-Nov-17
Boris 02-Nov-17
BuckSlayer 03-Nov-17
Franklin 03-Nov-17
Scoot 03-Nov-17
Charlie Rehor 03-Nov-17
Woods Walker 03-Nov-17
kellyharris 03-Nov-17
Muskrat 03-Nov-17
GotBowAz 03-Nov-17
Brotsky 03-Nov-17
carcus 03-Nov-17
Scar Finga 03-Nov-17
dizzydctr 03-Nov-17
SteveB 03-Nov-17
Jaquomo 03-Nov-17
APauls 03-Nov-17
BOHUNTER09 03-Nov-17
Kodiak 03-Nov-17
kellyharris 03-Nov-17
GotBowAz 03-Nov-17
kellyharris 03-Nov-17
rattling_junkie 03-Nov-17
GF 03-Nov-17
Newhunter1 03-Nov-17
mfg bowyer 03-Nov-17
GotBowAz 03-Nov-17
stealthycat 03-Nov-17
GF 03-Nov-17
Newhunter1 03-Nov-17
Pyrannah 03-Nov-17
GF 03-Nov-17
JLeMieux 03-Nov-17
brooktrout59 03-Nov-17
Stekewood 03-Nov-17
GotBowAz 03-Nov-17
APauls 03-Nov-17
Newhunter1 03-Nov-17
snellpastor 03-Nov-17
Buffalo1 03-Nov-17
kellyharris 03-Nov-17
beckerbulldog 03-Nov-17
Ironbow 03-Nov-17
snapcrackpop 03-Nov-17
Newhunter1 03-Nov-17
Newhunter1 03-Nov-17
W 03-Nov-17
kellyharris 03-Nov-17
shade mt 03-Nov-17
DartonJager 04-Nov-17
Pintail 06-Nov-17
Hunting5555 06-Nov-17
Z Barebow 06-Nov-17
Bullshooter 06-Nov-17
BR Stinger 07-Nov-17
jax2009r 08-Nov-17
cnelk 08-Nov-17
cnelk 08-Nov-17
Doofle 08-Nov-17
jjs 08-Nov-17
EMB 30-Nov-17
DartonJager 30-Nov-17
snapcrackpop 30-Nov-17
Griz 30-Nov-17
Bowfreak 30-Nov-17
HerdManager 30-Nov-17
DRR324 30-Nov-17
Zebrakiller 30-Nov-17
brooktrout59 30-Nov-17
EMB 30-Nov-17
Pyrannah 30-Nov-17
Pyrannah 30-Nov-17
EMB 30-Nov-17
Pyrannah 30-Nov-17
Arrowone 30-Nov-17
Bentstick81 30-Nov-17
EMB 01-Dec-17
Hawkeye 01-Dec-17
brooktrout59 01-Dec-17
Hawkeye 01-Dec-17
Ironbow 02-Dec-17
sticksender 03-Dec-17
rooster 03-Dec-17
JL 03-Dec-17
MT in Mo/Cell 03-Dec-17
JL 03-Dec-17
Teeton 03-Dec-17
lawdy 03-Dec-17
JL 03-Dec-17
Arrowone 03-Dec-17
deaver25btb 03-Dec-17
Salt 04-Dec-17
Charlie Rehor 04-Dec-17
Pyrannah 04-Dec-17
Charlie Rehor 04-Dec-17
The last savage 04-Dec-17
Turkeyhunter 04-Dec-17
From: Doofle
02-Nov-17
Finally got my knee xray since my tree stand fall. Luckily it's not as bad as we thought. Anybody else have any close calls?

From: Doofle
02-Nov-17

From: Scoot
02-Nov-17
Before I knew any better I had a set up failure of a hang on and broke my foot. My bro-in-law broke his collar bone when a stand came crashing down (along with him). Cousin had a nasty fall too. These all happened many years ago and I take much more precaution when going up a tree now.

From: LBshooter
02-Nov-17
When will people learn to wear a safety harness and avert serious injury or death. This is the five year anniversary of my buddy snapping his neck falling from his stand. We argued about harnesses all the time and his family finally paid the ultimate price. Are you all just dumb? It's getting to the point with all the info on harnesses and falls and still guys choose not to wear one lol. I'm starting to not feel bad for guys who end up hurt, you've done it to yourselves. I guess Forrest grumps mama had it right, "Stupid is what Stupid does". Hope the geniuses who feel that are to macho to wear a S A F E T Y harness have plenty of life insurance so thier families don't suffer for ignorance.

From: LBshooter
02-Nov-17
When will people learn to wear a safety harness and avert serious injury or death. This is the five year anniversary of my buddy snapping his neck falling from his stand. We argued about harnesses all the time and his family finally paid the ultimate price. Are you all just dumb? It's getting to the point with all the info on harnesses and falls and still guys choose not to wear one lol. I'm starting to not feel bad for guys who end up hurt, you've done it to yourselves. I guess Forrest grumps mama had it right, "Stupid is what Stupid does". Hope the geniuses who feel that are to macho to wear a S A F E T Y harness have plenty of life insurance so thier families don't suffer for ignorance.

From: GF
02-Nov-17
That’s how I feel about packing a cell phone. Just set it for low battery usage and do not disturb, then keep it ON YOU. Yeah, it feels like a tether, but....

I just imagine my wife trying to explain to my boys that I had died - needlessly - because I was too proud to carry a phone with me. And I’d feel pretty damn stupid lying someplace, knowing that I was going to DIE, and ONLY because nobody knew where I was or that I needed help.

Only thing worse would be if something were to happen to one of the kids.

From: Boris
02-Nov-17
WHY don't you tell your family were you are hunting?????? My wife has maps with an X on it. I even go to google earth an get the long. and lat for her. As an EMT, I hate these type of calls.

From: BuckSlayer
03-Nov-17
Guys, my name is Chad and I'm a falloholic. 8yrs clean though since falling and fracturing 2 vertebrae in my middle back. I did have a buddy near by and I did text him to come get me. Thing was, it wasn't my stand and I walked in that evening with him to hunt a ground blind set up. We saw a big buck near this spot and he convinced me to sit his stand. I questioned I he'd inspected it recently and he told me he'd hunted from it recently. Crows nest style stand with the screw in mount you hang the stand from. I should have been more careful. Almost cost me my life. I now hunt much smarter and will never allow anyone to hunt with me who doesn't harness up before getting I ln a tree. It happens in the blink of an eye and thank God and his healing I'm alive today to hunt and teach others that no deer is worth your life. 2 yrs pain and rehab to finally be semi normal again. WEAR A HARNESS!!!!

From: Franklin
03-Nov-17
I`m with Boris....my wife is familiar with my location and I tell her where I am going and if I don`t call by a certain time call my buddies. Sounds like some folks are just plain reckless....I don`t know a single hunter who has fallen and others have everyone in their family falling....how is this possible.

From: Scoot
03-Nov-17
All of the falls mentioned in post I made above happened in the 80's. At that time I'd never heard of a safety harness and nobody who I knew had ever used one. So, to answer your question LBshooter, no, I'm not stupid- but I sure was back then. However, I didn't know any better in the 80's when I was in high school. I'm curious how many people on bowsite were wearing a harness, using a lifeline, and/or using a lineman's rope in the 80's?

03-Nov-17

Charlie Rehor's embedded Photo
Paralyzed from the waist down from a tree stand fall
Charlie Rehor's embedded Photo
Paralyzed from the waist down from a tree stand fall
13 years ago! Buckle up dudes!

From: Woods Walker
03-Nov-17
I started wearing a safety belt in the 80's. Not a harness, but more like a lineman's belt. I went to ground hunting over a decade ago so it's not a concern for me anymore. I don't think I'd treestand hunt if I had to wear a full harness. It's complicated enough as it is already and a big part of the reason why I stopped doing it.

From: kellyharris
03-Nov-17
Scoot I started hunting in 76 as a kid.

My dad his buddies and I used what was called a safety belt basically two seat belts from a junk yard and a small seat belt sewn into a figure 8 so you could get some distance off the tree.

But hell we were using BAKER tree stands which was an experience itself.

I never climb a tree without a safety belt and Prussic system.

Whenever I hang a lock-on I try to use my summit and work my way down.

Regardless just like last night putting up my ladder stick I had my vest and a linesman rope around the tree.

Lbshooter I agree 100% with your thoughts

From: Muskrat
03-Nov-17
When a stand goes down, it typically goes down REALLY FAST. Faster than you can react to. That's the lesson that stays with me several years after a hang-on took a dive when I stepped onto it. Fortunately I was tied in. Bark under my fingernails was the only injury I had to endure. But prior to that day there were many times I was not tied in before stepping onto the stand. I was stupid but lucky. Luck has a habit of running out....so please be tied in up there.

From: GotBowAz
03-Nov-17
I never climb a tree without a safety belt and Prussic system.

Kelly, if its a tree with limbs and your using those limbs to climb that tree how do you go about putting in your Prussic system initially? Do you climb up it first then put the system in?

From: Brotsky
03-Nov-17
Scoot, I started bowhunting in 1987. I never even used a stand! I sat in the crotch of a tree! My dad had an old Baker climber I inherited (assumingly because he was tired of falling to the bottom of the tree). Damn near killed myself half a dozen times with that death trap. I don't think I wore a harness until I got one with a treestand I bought in the late 90's. I have worn one off and on until about 8-9 years ago when I fell and broke 3 ribs after a tree step pulled out on me. The tree I fell out of was actually in about the spot that you and Ryan turkey hunted this spring in the evening where the birds roosted on the ridge above you. That was a long ass walk with broke ribs and bleeding. I've worn a harness ever since that day.

From: carcus
03-Nov-17
A friend of a friend, I knew the guy as well, ice fished together a few times fell from his tree a few years back, he survived, probably wishes he didn't, spent over a month in icu on a ventilator and is paralyzed from the chest down.

From: Scar Finga
03-Nov-17
I also use to use a lineman's belt back in the day, but now it is a full body harness and 100% tie off. There is always a way to do it safely. It may be a hassle, but that's better than being disabled or dead! It takes about 10 extra minutes total for me.

From: dizzydctr
03-Nov-17
I have almost 45 years of climbing trees to bowhunt under my belt and have fallen twice. The first time was probably 30 years ago when I was climbing down a hackberry tree at dark with my hang on stand on my back using tree gaffs. I had a linesman type safety belt on but wasn't using it climbing as it slowed me down. My right gaff slipped and I fell REALLY FAST, hitting a limb that pitched me down head first. I had the presence of mind to tuck my head in and landed on my shoulders and back. If not , I would now be dead or quadriplegic. As it was, I had the wind knocked out of me, but was able eventually to breathe and limp out of the woods with only bruises and nothing broken. Fast forward to my next fall about 5 years ago. I fell asleep on a loc on and woke up as I was falling REALLY FAST to my right. This time, I was caught up short by the SOP safety harness that I religiously wear, and my feet never left the stand. I was able to pull my self back up within seconds. I had a few small bruises but primarily it just scared me to death. I'm getting old and like to take naps and prefer to hunt out of a Summit climber now so I feel more secure with the rails. But, I attach my harness on the ground, slide it up and down the tree as I climb, and don't remove it until I'm back on the ground. On my farm all my ladder stands and loc on stands have safety lines so the children and grandchildren can hook up on the ground and stay secure until they get back down after the hunt. They are not allowed to hunt in an elevated stand without a harness.

Things happen and and you can never be 100% safe, but climbing a tree without a safety harness is foolhardy and invites disaster.

From: SteveB
03-Nov-17
Friend of mine stepped onto the same last branch he had for 10 years to get into his stand. This time the branch broke. He knew he was in trouble and used cell to call his son for help and to tell him that if anything happened before he got there that he loved him and his wife more than he could say. At 42 years old he was gone by the time he got to him.

Use a safety system.

From: Jaquomo
03-Nov-17
Doofle, I think it's sort of ironic that you fell, after lecturing us about how nobody should bowhunt over the age of 50 because we lack the balance, strength, and stamina to do it. Hopefully your knee isn't too bad. Perhaps you should take your own advice and give it up since you are apparently in your 60's (based upon your other posts)

From: APauls
03-Nov-17
I know I'll get flamed away on this one but here goes:

I do believe in safety systems. I desperately want to wear them. Every year I read a thread about someone who gets severely hurt or killed in a fall, and I "re-dedicate" myself to the cause, but invariably I don't follow through. I have bought HSS's, SOP harness, and a RC harness. Due to the circumstances of where I hunt (many hunters, thieves around, public land primarily) I have chosen a hunting style that takes me bringing my stand in and out with each sit. This means putting it up and taking it down each time. I will not have a safety line at the top of the tree to "clip into." Yes I know I could climb lineman's style, but here is what I do. I use a LW treestand and 3 LW steps to get into my tree. I inspect all parts of my system prior to every single use. From everything I have read, and a common sense approach to thinking about it nearly all treestand falls happen due to one of a few variables: climbing when falling, stand and/or parts (such as straps) breaking, I will include branches in that category - something breaks, or falling asleep in a stand. Pieces of my stand and setup will not break. They are new, strong, and inspected each use. I am not falling asleep in the stand, but I am climbing at my own risk. My steps will not fail.

I am 30 years old, athletic, in good shape. The question I really ask myself - is climbing a tree on a set of climbing sticks without a harness a major danger to me? The trees I climb are almost all straight poplar trees. They aren't at crazy angles or anything. In todays day and age of helicopter parenting I hope I have the ability to let my daughter climb a tree unassisted and feel the joy of climbing. Do we think it is stupid to let our kids climb trees or climb trees ourselves for that matter? I do realize that if a person is tied in 100% of the time, the accident is preventable. The extra time and enjoyment it would rob me of from my hunts is legitimate. I like to be mobile and move quick if needed. Trying to do that while being tied in all the time is essentially an oxymoron.

So either I completely abandon my hunting style, or I keep going with the level of risk I have in climbing a straight tree 17ft up untethered on strong, stable sticks. Just this summer to show off to my 3 year old I climbed a much spindlier tree to over 20 feet just to show her how a person can climb trees. To get up I had to jump to a branch and hang with both arms, then swing my feet up so that I am essentially upside down and then swing my body around onto the branch. Any number of bad things could have happened during that sequence.

My point is, at some point we do have to trust our bodies, and the processes of life. What is more dangerous - climbing the tree or my 35 minute drive to get there? Do not take this the wrong way - I am not against tying in at all. My dream is to own a property where I can set up stands, and then have ropes etc to tie off in, but right now it just isn't happening. Am I "stupid" as you say? I don't believe I am, I feel like I have weighed and measured the risks, and believe that I have very very little risk in the way I climb to my stand. I am not leaving anything out in the weather, or where something can happen to it when I am not around. If I know I am pulling an all day sit and I may be tired I will bring my RC harness and tie in for the sit. Saying that anyone who doesn't tie in is stupid is wrong IMO, but then again, that is just my opinion, and maybe it is a stupid one lol. Flame away.

From: BOHUNTER09
03-Nov-17
I fell about 8 years ago. Was using a combination of limbs and screw in steps. Tree was wet and i was in a hurry. Hand slipped and foot hung up on limb flipping me over. Fell 10 feet breaking left arm just below shoulder. Phone was in pants pocket but could not get to it. Had on harness but no life line. I was lucky laying on the ground and able to move my legs. Now I'm all ladder stands and life lines.

From: Kodiak
03-Nov-17
I'm 53 and went to ladder stands exclusively a few years ago. They aren't practical for everybody but work great in my situation...plus I don't trust Chinese made cables. I never use a harness or other safety gear but feel plenty safe.

My brother is 63 and still uses a few hang-ons...but he's a young 63.

From: kellyharris
03-Nov-17
GotboAz at my lease hills are pretty steep so no limbs usually until 25-30 feet.

At home Urban hunt different but a lot 80 year old trees so young trees grow tall quick with no limbs.

But when I do have to go over limbs I never use a limb for my hand or feet. I use rapid rails or sectional ladder sticks.

Any decent harness has loops for anlinemans rope and I will have two ropes one on each loop with a caribeaner tied at the end.

Last night I didn’t have a caribeaner so I used a webbing material and tied a certain knot.

Same as when I tied my prussic as well

From: GotBowAz
03-Nov-17
Apuals, Im sort of in the same boat. Most of the trees I climb are pine trees and you can not go in a straight line from the ground to get to your stand most of the time without sawing off some major branches in the process. I've climbed trees since I was a kid and i adopted a 3 point of contact at all times rule. Never remove a hand or a foot unless the other 3 are holding/stepping on to solid limbs. Thats not to say I dont tie off with a harness/belt before stepping on or off the stand, and i leave it on the entire time im in the stand. but one question Im looking to have answered by anyone, is how do you put in a prussic system before your very first climb of a tree from the ground with limbs? Im thinking you dont and depending on the tree you may not be able to put one in at all. BTW, im 55.

03-Nov-17
Apauls, We hunt the same way, but I now use XOP stand and 3-4 XOP sticks. What I started doing this year is I (when using 3 sticks) put the first two sticks up. Then I put the stand on my back and the third stick in my left hand and climb up to the top of the second stick. I put the third stick up, climb up on it and then hang the stand by first using the tree strap with hook to hang the stand on before I pull it off my back and hang it on this.

I then put the two straps around the stand and drop my tow rope down and clip it on the stand. I go back down, put on my safety vest, put my bow hook, quiver tree attachment, and pack hook in my right pocket. I attach the bow to the tow rope, and put the lineman's rope I attach to the tree with in my pocket. I climb to the top step, I put the lineman's rope around the tree, cinch it up as high as I can reach and then attach it to my safety vest. Before climbing up I make sure I pull the safety vest attachment strap to the front of me. I do this BEFORE stepping onto the stand. This is the only step new for me, and I started doing this after Pat's video and reading most of the falls occur at this point, when stepping onto the stand.

I then screw in my holders, pull up my bow and I am set to go. I do feel more comfortable being attached before I take the pack off my back and hang it, and it does not take any longer to do this. I also inspect my equipment regularly like you do, and change the straps out annually. This is what works for me, but I am not ashamed to admit I say a prayer before each hunt that it be a safe one.

From: kellyharris
03-Nov-17
A Pauls and others who hunt that way one question are you tied in by a harness once your get set in the stand?

03-Nov-17
APauls, I hunt the same way you do, with the same system. I am not tied to the tree while climbing but I am once on the stand. It has not taken away from my enjoyment or mobility. I can actually use the harness to catch me, and lean out for a shot if needed. I never forget my harness.

From: GF
03-Nov-17
“WHY don't you tell your family were you are hunting?????? My wife has maps with an X on it. I even go to google earth an get the long. and lat for her. As an EMT, I hate these type of calls.”

Well, I suppose your system DOES make it a lot easier to find the corpses.

“As an EMT”

I guess I’m assuming that the calls that you’re objecting to are the false alarms and you think that people who carry phones are just a bunch of sissies. Maybe I’m misreading you entirely. Honestly, I hope so.

But anyway....

#1 - A map with an X on it does nobody any good whatsoever if your plan is to hunt your way through an area, rather than just park your arse in a tree all damn day. And it’s pretty much equally useless if you are hunting area and decide to switch stand locations because the wind is not doing what you expected it to be doing, or some similar change in plans.

#2 - most falls occur while climbing or descending. And personally, I find it more difficult to climb first thing in the morning when I might still be a bit groggy, and it’s cold, and my hands are not working well, and it’s dark, and I’m in a hurry because I want to get into position before it gets to legal light.... So anyway, I guess I would be willing to bet that more falls occur in the morning than at any other time of day.

#3 - “As an EMT”, I’m sure you’ve been taught the importance of the “Golden Hour” after an injury. And as a bow hunter who has probably heard MANY TIMES the age-old advice about giving an animal a good 45 minutes to an hour to expire…

Admittedly, my wife is a Worrier, so calling her when I’m out of the woods saves her some anxiety, which makes her more pleasant to come home to, and more interested in allowing me the time to myself to go hunting whenever I can. Which ain’t often, so that matters, too. (If you don’t think it’s important that your wife is HAPPY to see you go do something that’s important to you, you’re either not married or won’t be for long. JMO, but I’ve tried it both ways)

Anyway, point being.... if you've told everybody not to look for you ‘til they see you, that’s all well and good until you find yourself in the situation in which Steve’s friend DIED. At least he went out knowing that people loved him and would come for him, and he had a chance to tell his son how much he meant to him. At least I HOPE that was a comfort to him. If he was like me, he probably wanted to apologize for being such a dumbass, and died while tortured by the thought of what his son was just about to have to go through and all that he was going to miss out on.

From: Newhunter1
03-Nov-17

Newhunter1's Link
I haven't read all the posts but I've had to many accidents in my young hunting career. I've been hunting now for 15 years. In those fifteen years, I have always worn my harness. My first year, I would wake up in the stand leaning out as far as the harness would allow from falling asleep. It happens. I have had a API bottom section fall out while climbing. I had to sit on the top for about 10 minutes to figure out what to do. The harness saved me as I was about 18 feet up...I let myself down enough...hanging from my safety tether and rope. I was able to grab the bottom section and put it where I could climb back in. I have had incidents where the hang on stand shifted and I almost fell, but the harness stopped it. Now I have my harness and the wingman harness.

Everyone...I practiced with this safety device while hunting. I had just killed a doe and climbed half way down my steps. I decided to jump the remaining 10 feet and it literally slowed my descent down to about a foot a second. I have zero connection with this company but If your going to hunt in a tree...then buy this device. It will save your life.

From: mfg bowyer
03-Nov-17
Any body that doesn't use harness or linemans belt & life line is STUPID, as it only takes seconds to use them & if you can not afford the spear seconds then you need to have about 2 million dollars of life insurance to cover your family when you are not around any more to support them. I have fallen twice, 1 time 1971 broken wrist & brused body 5 days before I could get out of bed by self. 2 time went to clean out shooting house that had stairs & there was a bees nest in there & backed out & tried to turn around to go back down the stairs & feet got twisted & turned wrong way & fell off the side that had no rail fron 15' nothing broken but ribbs brused & was almost 2 weeks before could pull bow again. Shouldn't need a harness going up stairs but s--t happens quickly. WEAR YOUR HARNESS!

From: GotBowAz
03-Nov-17
Thanks Kelly! With trees without limbs I use a my climber stand. My stand is a bit hevier/beefier than most climbers and I dont use any that have a cable that goes around the back of the tree. Mine is solid steel. Just like Apuals I inspect it every time I use it. Then I tie my harness into the top/seat section where the levrage from a fall would create the stand to bite into the tree of the climber stand. I have a cable locking the top and bottom stands together so the bottom one can not fall to the base of the tree if it slips off my feet. I have tried a lineman's rope around the tree as I go up only to have it tangle and get cut by my tree stand.. No thanks, Tied off to my stand will keep me from falling.

In the past i have used strap on ladders/steps. I do not feel comfortable with nylon straps and never have, thats just me. I put a chain around each one and a truckers binder. they dont so much as wiggle a little. My tree stand is put in the same way. a chain, a binder, chain wraped around binder handle then locked back to a link around the tree. And yes, always tie in with harness before I step onto the stand.

From: stealthycat
03-Nov-17
I was in a stand last weekend ... hang on stand, and sometimes I'll wrap my foot around the cable from the platform to the stand and it helps me a bit when I look behind me.

The cable had broken - so only 1 cable on 1 side holding the platform to the stand itsself, I had 3 ratchet straps on the tree, one of them must have been holding that platform tight ... I was in that stand 4 hours before I noticed

No fall - but note to self, stands/pieces break

From: GF
03-Nov-17
APauls - No flame intended; just Dad to Dad.

“What is more dangerous - climbing the tree or my 35 minute drive to get there? ”

Lemme ask you this: Do you wear a seatbelt??

What about your kids?

No offense, bud, but just straight-up brain development-wise, you’re still about 5 years short of fully baked - and I don’t mean in the Surfer Dude sense. That’s not a knock on you or anybody your age; it’s just how long it takes for the human brain to become fully developed, and among the last regions to mature are the ones relating to risk assessment and foreseeing the consequences of our actions. Is not that you’re not smart, it’s that you’re not quite There yet.

Time was, the Tribal Elders - the Old Dudes - were revered for their experience and Wisdom. They were also about 40.

From: Newhunter1
03-Nov-17
Did you know...

1). Over 50% of all hunter accidents nationally are treestand related. Statistics tell us that one (1) out of every THREE (3) hunters will fall from their treestand in their lifetime. The sudden stop created by a treestand safety harness when falling can put over 1,800 lbs of force on your body, causing potential injuries to your back, neck, ribs, and other internal injuries. Suspension trauma, also known as harness hang syndrome, can occur in less than 10-minutes, with the symptoms of suspension trauma occuring within only 5-minutes! When suspended from a treestand safety harness, blood begins to pool in your legs after a few minutes. Your heart rate starts to increase to draw that blood back to itself, but is pumping even more blood into your legs at the same time. Given enough time, two (2) things will occur: The stress on your heart will lead to a heart attack Lack of blood (oxygen) to your brain causes you to lose consciousness and lead to brain damage or death.

From: Pyrannah
03-Nov-17
unreal...

From: GF
03-Nov-17
“I've climbed trees since I was a kid and i adopted a 3 point of contact at all times rule. Never remove a hand or a foot unless the other 3 are holding/stepping on to solid limbs. ”

Solidvtechnique. But when you’re climbing a tree, you’re just climbing a tree. Three points are hard to maintain when you’re hanging stands and tying knots and working with ratchet straps. Or suffering from Buck Fever and shifting your feet to get into a better shooting position.

I know a former semi-pro hockey player who pivoted around to show his daughter how to skate backwards; hooked an edge, knocked himself out cold, and couldn’t work for almost a month. How could that happen to someone with his athletic set? He wasn’t thinking about being athletic.

Everybody knows that cell phones cause distracted driving and that it’s as dangerous (or more) than driving drunk. Standing on a platform 10-20 feet up isn’t particularly dangerous unless you’re “somehow” distracted.

From: JLeMieux
03-Nov-17
APauls, I hunt public land using a very similar setup. I use the lineman's belt while climbing and tie my lifeline to my stand and the other end tied somewhere on my harness. When I climb up I pull the stand up and hang it. Then connect the lifeline to the tree and connect my harness to it prior to stepping into the stand.

From: brooktrout59
03-Nov-17
I am Charlie's friend John that fell from a fixed tree stand at 23 feet 13 years ago this coming December10th.

It was the last Friday of shotgun season here in Masdachusetts and I had planned to hunt on my friends farm with him as he had taken the day off from work. It was pouring rain and my wife asked me as I was getting out of bed why was I going hunting in the pouring rain? I told her my friend took the day off from work so I was going to meet him at the farm.

Because of the rain and cold I had on a camo slicker and when I tried to put on my harness was having all sorts of trouble getting it around my legs, buckling etc. Said screw it and threw the harness in my truck bed.

Was in my stand with my shotgun's action in my lap under my slicker when I saw a doe at about 20 yards. Had difficulty getting my gun out from under so stood up, tried to aim and could not see sights because of hood. Deer made me and starts backing up, leaned over to shoot around a tree and way off balance shot the deer. The recoil from the 12 gauge slug gun was enough to send me backwards where I landed on the white Oaks tree root . Immediately could not breath as I later learned I had broken 5 ribs and was bleeding internally. Could not feel my legs nor move my torso. My friend heard the shot, found me and went to the Farmhouse to call 911.EMT'scame and with ATV and stretcher trailer got me to ambulance and local hospital. There after tests told me the could not treat me because of internal bleeding and rushed me to a trauma center.

At trauma center told me I only had couple of hours to live if had not had chest tube inserted to remove blood from chest cavity. Worst pain I have ever felt was having chest tube inserted through my broken ribs.

After diagnosis of complete paraplegia at T-11 fracture in my spine, had spinal surgery where Harrington rods were inserted in my back and then 6 weeks at Spaulding Rehab in Boston.

Next 2 years were spent trying to get used to life in a chair. Accepted it , began swimming playing sports, skiing and best of all started hunting again, first at Para hunts and then with my son and last few years with friends like Charlie and Forest Bows who took thetime to reintroduce l to Bowhunting . Cannot thank them enough.

Words of wisdom. Do not be complacent about safety like I was . Do not be overconfident in your abilities. Accidents happen. Treat your safety harness and tether like American Express- don't leave home without it!

From: Stekewood
03-Nov-17
APauls, Don't take this as flaming, just take a minute to think about it. My buddies and I all hunted the same way you do when we were your age. We were all in great shape and a couple were even tree climbers for a living. 4 of them have fallen in the last 20 years with injuries ranging from deep lacerations and broken ribs to an ankle replacement and a broken neck. You're right, with the system you use and the shape you're in its not likely that you are going to fall, but the guys I know who did were just as unlikely to fall. I guarantee you that in 10 or 15 years you are going to look back on how you hunt now and realize how careless and irresponsible you were. Hopefully it won't take that long, or a fall, to open your eyes.

From: GotBowAz
03-Nov-17
Newhunter1 I'm curious, how long of a line do you have on your harness? Mine lets me barely get to the edge of my platform when Im standing straight up. My fall is going to be inches. i highly doubt im going to create 1800lbs of force. I may bump and buise my knee. Im going to be able to step back on the stand or support myself with the tree. If your strap hooked to your harness is 5 feet long I see your point. That makes no sense to me.

From: APauls
03-Nov-17
Kelly if I know I am sitting for a long time I will wear my RC harness. If I'm just sitting a couple hours I often won't tie off. I'm not saying I'm proud of the fact, it's just a reality. Harnesses take up a pile of room, and with our cold weather up here they are a major PIA. I have bought all the best harnesses always with the best intentions because the potential downside of a fall scares the daylights out of me. Then hunting happens and the harnesses stay at home. Early season it's easy and I'll toss my RC harness on. Now, when it's already 10 degrees celsius below zero, a RC harness creates airflow between clothing layers making a person cold, and same with a full size harness going up through the top, or it's a problem to wear overtop all the layers. I need a Sitka Fanatic Suit with the fall arrest system literally sewn into the jacket and then I'll be happy :)

From: Newhunter1
03-Nov-17
Gotbows,

I always run a life line with all my stand placements. Run and gun, as well as long term stands. I run my life line up as high as my short self can reach...then I will actually kneel on the seat...this gives me about another 6" and cinch down my life line there or safety rope. That puts about 3-4 feet above my head. With the wingman harness I attach the end to the safety rope (prussic or ropeman ascender) which I then attach my harness tether to. I am able to sit down but if I lean forward to "tie my shoe" it stops me short. If I were to fall, the tether would stop me at stand level. I think I'd fall about 6". However with the wingman, I can fall about a foot below the bottom of my stand and if I were to be knocked out (hit my head on the tree...whatever) the wingman slowly lowers me to the ground...oh and I can use it over and over.

From: snellpastor
03-Nov-17
Brooktrought59, thanks for posting. Sorry for your accident and hope others learn from your misfortune.

I grew up hunting with my dad and two brothers. Dad died from a tree stand fall 3 years ago. My brother asked him to wear a harness that morning and he scoffed. Night before he died, he actually bragged to a friend how he had never fallen. No joke. Glad he died doing something he loved, but he could still be here. Then one of my brothers has fallen twice. Last time was 18 feet in August this year. Broke his back in two places. Lucky that he is alive and not paralyzed. But he has sworn off anything other than ground blinds and ladder stands.

When I was young and stupid, I also fell. Not far ... about 8 feet up. The screw in steps were wet and my hand slipped off as I raised myself up. No harness. Again, the good Lord was watching out for me.

So four of us ... four falls. One death. One broken back.

For those wondering how you climb trees with lots of branches the very first time, when you don't have a safety line attached at the top, you use 2 linemen belts. That way you are always clipped in with one as you move the other. Is it a pain? Yep. But with 1/3 odds that at some point in your life you will fall, you are crazy not to do it.

Given my family's experience, I now have a healthy fear of tree stands and climbing trees. Scares the snot out of me anymore to even put up a stand. I still do it. But I do it smart. Every stand now has a lifeline. Be safe guys and gals. Our families' need us to come home.

From: Buffalo1
03-Nov-17
I fell 15' off of a stand when I was 51. Broke leg.

I should given up hunting at 50- didn't realize I was "washed up" for hunting as we have been so recently advised. (LOL).

Do get in stands now w/o a safety belt. Have also become a proponent of a life line especially with lock-ons.

From: kellyharris
03-Nov-17
Lol reading some of these post first I want to say I absolutely hope no one ever has a fall!

Second thing is You can’t fix stupid

Newhunter1 your post trying to show the dangers of wearing a harness is freaking hilarious!

Apauls I don’t understand how a harness like muddy or the ones they sell at even menards are bulky or get in the way?

I would rather fall 2-6 feet and be caught and tethered by a vest than to fall 25 feet to the earths crust!

Yeh I might be sore but I am willing to bet I have a 99% chance of not being a para or quadraphelegic

Apuals question for you? Do you wear a seatbelt when driving a car?

Trust me guys I fall into the Stupid is as stupid does category myself.

Lots of times I won’t throw a helmet on when I take a cruise on my scooter

03-Nov-17
I fell out of a permanent stand 35 years ago. Lucky for me the ground was spongey (swampy) and cushioned my fall. Didn't learn much from that experience cause I hunted another 5 years before I started to use any type of safety equipment. We used to go to junk yards and cut out safety belts and stich them together. Not sure it would have helped much. I now use a life line system for ascending and descending the stand and I'm always hooked up in the stand. I guess when you have more days behind you than in front of you, you don't take chances like you did when you were a kid.

From: Ironbow
03-Nov-17
APauls,

Read the latest Bowhunter magazine. Great article on a man that fell. The thing you need to think about, not whether you think you are athletic enough or strong enough (you aren't) but what happens to your family if you did fall? You want your wife wiping your butt? How do you think she would feel about that? You want to be around and in one piece for your kids when they get older? It is not about you, what about THEM?

I have been hunting out of trees since 1974. I used to think I was bulletproof, and I was strong and athletic. Fortunately, I have never fell other than twice at the base of the tree when a tree step pulled out. Made me think about what would have happened if it had been the top one and not the bottom one. No longer use them.

I use Lone Wolf sticks too. I hunt out of crooked trees and trees with lots of limbs. Sometimes it is hard to use the climbing belt. If I have to skip it for one set of steps, it is always back on right after that. And when the last one goes on, the harness strap goes around the tree and does not come off until I get down. I never hang the stand without it being on. My harness is a minimal one, goes on over my first layer of clothing, if I need to put another layer on it goes over the top of it. I don't even realize I am wearing it anymore.

You could climb a thousand trees and never have a problem. But it only takes that one time. Kind of like if your parachute doesn't open. Only takes once.

From: snapcrackpop
03-Nov-17
APauls, glad to hear the RC is more comfortable for you. I wear my RC over my pants and that allows me to put on my winter bibs in the tree without disconnecting. The safety rope exits at about my belly button height. I usually leave by bib zipper open.

When climbing/hanging a hang-on TRY using 2 lineman's ropes. One carabiner attached on the right hip and one on the left. One is around a tree while the other is attached at the hip, over the shoulder and to the other hip. When you reach a branch, just unclip one carabiner, reach around the tree and re-attach. Then unclip the other carabiner from the tree and over your shoulder to the other hip and keep climbing. THEN when you reach the platform, you can also use the second carabiner to safely transition to the platform without being unconnected. With a little practice this MIGHT slow you down a little, but not much. Plus with a lineman's attachment, you are free to use BOTH hands when hanging steps and the stand... BEST OF LUCK!

From: Newhunter1
03-Nov-17
Newhunter1 your post trying to show the dangers of wearing a harness is freaking hilarious!

I laugh too...you ought to see the 6" scar on my head. I fell off my ladder, while hanging a deer to skin. Went 15' up the ladder because my gambrel was up at the top. Wasn't thinking straight (only three hours sleep the night before) and some how I fell out of the ladder onto my concrete driveway...on top of my head. Woke up to arterial bleeding...remembered what the Marines taught me to do. Pulled my shirt off and tried to stop the bleeding. Staggered up the stairs, woke my wife up and made an ER nurse freak out. Now, with that said (typed) a harness wouldn't have helped me there. However all the times I have fell asleep and leaned forward or sideways...well a harness is essential...that and about 8 hours of sleep, a thermos of strong coffee helps every time.

From: Newhunter1
03-Nov-17
Not arterial bleeding...

From: W
03-Nov-17
I moved a 16’ tripod and lost one cross brace in the process. No problem for several hunts. One morning I was about halfway down and then it all came crashing down. Happened real fast. No injury.

From: kellyharris
03-Nov-17
To me you guys are putting a lot of trust into your equipment!

I have seen lots of equipment that have passed vibration analysis test with flying colors to fail within a few hours.

We are talking about tree stands with straps under UV all year or stands made in China

From: shade mt
03-Nov-17
I started wearing a safety harness years ago. I considered the fact that if something happened to me, my family are the ones that suffer. I wear one every time now.

As far as leaving the map with an X on it? For my wife...LOL that might be ok if I only hunted one spot. But with 2 million acres of public land available in PA, 40,000+ acres right behind my house....There would be an AWFUL lot of x's...I continually hunt different spots. And as far as a cell phone? that's great if you have service...but more often than not I don't.

Be safe as you can, and make your peace with God beforehand...just in case.

From: DartonJager
04-Nov-17
I have been hunting out of tree stands since my VERY first bow hunt over 30 years ago. I out started using a simple waist only system and set it so I basically could not fall out of the stand. Then I attended fall prevention classes mandated by my employer and this was when waist only fall prevention systems were outlawed industry wide and full body harness systems were mandated. The class also taught me just how lethal falls at or above 10 feet were. I had no idea just how extremely injurious and deadly falls from 10-20' were till this class. I then switched to a full body harness. BUT I was not tied in and using it while assending and desending and getting in or out of my strand. I WRONGLY felt my only real risk of falling was from falling asleep while on stand.

That all changed on sunny cold morning in 1995 when I was climbing up a HUGE double trunked shag bark hickory. I was using a combination of tree limbs (HUGE NO NO will NEVER do that again) and screw in tree steps to climb one of the two trunks. Tree stand was at least 24-25' feet off the ground. I was best guess 20' up stepping off a big limb and onto a step when I heard a sickening sphincter factor of 20+ (a 10 factor is air tight) clenching "CRAAAAACK" Thank all mighty God I had the presence of mind and luck to be able to launch myself as the branch was braking on to and grab the second trunk, again I thank God I was able to grab onto the trunk and didn't fall, the impact caused me to smack my face/head violently against the trunk along with my chest. The result was the wind was slammed out of me and I was nearly knocked out and I distinctly recall seeing stars.

Then the REAL fun began. How does one slide down a shag bark covered in poison ivy and not end up in the ER? Thankfully I didn't get to badly affected and was only 10 minuets from my motel. I spent a VERY, VERY long time in the shower scrubbing the affected area of my upper body until it was raw. I was hunting totally alone and was single at that time and what scared me the most was, #1-NO ONE at all knew where I was hunting #2-No one would have missed me once I became over due once I didn't return #3-This was before cell phones existed so I had no way of getting help had I been unable to get to my truck #4-The low for that night was going to be in the low 30's* so even if my injuries wouldn't have been fatal dying from hypothermia was a very real possibility. I would love to say I never hunted again without a tree stand safety rope, but for many years I did. I did however never again climb up to or down from a hang on stand with out a linemans belt. I also NEVER again used any part of a tree to climb into or down from a stand. I went to a full body harness about 10 years ago and this year because of becoming aware of the lethality of suspension trama I am using a rock climbing harness. I am very upset at two of my oldest friends and hunting partners because even though I gifted him one, he never uses any type of fall arrest system and the other only occasionally uses an el-cheapo poorly designed harness that came free with his stand and wont take my advise on getting a harness with a suspension relief strap. Even after I explained to him that if he falls and can not self rescue or some how relieve the pressure on his thighs blood will pool in his lower legs and in less than an hour he will slip into unconsciousness and quite possibly die. Lastly the fact that I showed them both the statistic that 40% off all hunters who hunt most of their time from a hang on treestand will experience a fall of some degree sadly didn't change their attitudes.

From: Pintail
06-Nov-17
My earliest recollection of tree stand incident goes back to my first "Death Slide" down a big red oak with a Baker mighty mite tree stand in 1971. That removed every button from my favorite WW2 camo jacket along with about two pounds of meat from my chest and belly. I then went to a waist belt that nearly cut me in half the first time the baker kicked out from under me. At that point in life you begin to realize that belt was just a false sense of security. Fast forward to present day, the full body fall arrest equipment available now does an outstanding job at preventing a mishap. If you climb long enough sooner or later you will get an "attention getter" hopefully nothing serious. As for the folks that poo poo the safety aspect of things, I feel sorry for your family.

From: Hunting5555
06-Nov-17
Just last week here in our county in Southern Illinois, we had a hunter from Georgia fall from his deer stand. No safety harness. He called the EMT's and they were able to get to him as quick as they could in our rural county. He died on the way to the hospital.....

06-Nov-17
Kelly, Yes to question of being tied off the entire time on stand. I tie off before stepping from my last stick on to the stand. I do not unfasten the harness until both feet are back on the top stick and it feels stable.

From: Z Barebow
06-Nov-17
1988. 18’ fall. Tree stand collapsed like a trap door. First 17.5’ weren’t bad. Last 6” sucked. Landed on my feet and my body collapsed on impact. Knee hit my forehead, splitting my eye brow. Couldn’t breathe. That was due to a fractured vertebrae (compression fracture). Managed to eventually walk out. Drove past hospital on my way home, to eventually be transported back to hospital via ambulance and backboard. 3 days in the hospital give you plenty of time to rethink things/life.

I use safety harness. I don’t bounce.

From: Bullshooter
06-Nov-17

Bullshooter's embedded Photo
Bullshooter's embedded Photo
Snapcrackpop gave a good description of how to go around limbs using 2 lineman's belts. Admittedly it is a pain, but it is the safest way. If anyone has an interest, I sometimes use a different method, which is easier only with some trees.

This would only be useful when hanging lifelines preseason, not for mobile hunters who hang and hunt each time. To put up a lifeline before climbing, I use the pictured slingshot/fishing reel combo to gently shoot a 1 oz or so weight over a branch at about 25 feet up. The fishing line is then tied to paracord line to pull it over the branch. Then the paracord pulls the lifeline over the branch. When you loop the lifeline around the tree, it is on the opposite side of the trunk than the limb it is over, such that the weight is supported by the loop being tightened around the trunk, not just the limb. Then the lifeline is in place while you are still on the ground. Not for everyone. Not for every tree, but at times it is useful. One look up the tree will tell you if you have a clear shot at a useful branch. On good trees it is quicker than it sounds, and can be quicker than climbing with a lifeline.

Another thing I do if I think I will use the same tree the next season- when I take down the lifeline after season, I leave a length of paracord over a limb up high, and tied to itself where it hangs down within reach of the ground. Then I only have to tie the lifeline to the paracord and pull it over. (Try to avoid limbs that tend to have a crease where it meets the trunk that will jam the cord into the crease.)

From: BR Stinger
07-Nov-17
I've found myself in the past couple years not using my LW sticks/lightweight portable very often at all. I used to use it almost exclusively to hang and hunt then take down when I left. Anymore I mostly use my climber and I like it because I can get higher up AND I stayed tied to the tree the whole time. For the trees where a climber won't work I hang a more permanent setup along with a Lifeline.

From: jax2009r
08-Nov-17
I always use a climber and never used a harness....after reading this post I have been using it...for the time it takes in is really worth ...I find my self climber higher and feeling better ...well worth it ...

the picture of the guy in a wheel chair was enough for me

From: cnelk
08-Nov-17
Last week I used my XOP and harness EVERY TIME I went up a tree I also used my harness when using ladder sticks and a hang on stand

View post on imgur.com

View post on imgur.com

View post on imgur.com

From: cnelk
08-Nov-17
One more safety precaution I do is to ake sure my foot peg is at the same level as my stand platform.

That way I can safely step onto the stand/sticks and be in step sequence . Nothing worse than trying to find a step with the wrong foot

View post on imgur.com

From: Doofle
08-Nov-17
Look at jax2009r's post. Doofle is good for something. Doofle started this post, and this post has changed lives and maybe saved a few. Glad people are taking notice. Some of us can't take a joke, but non of us are invincible like we sometimes think.

From: jjs
08-Nov-17
Took a 18' fall Sept. 22, cleaning the wife's windows, took a step down and the latter went, landed on top of the grill hood on the right shoulder blade. The best place to hit or would have hit the metal edge or just concrete, ended up with a broken rib and a very sore shoulder blade, should have of been either dead or a veg but the Lord has other plans. Just got back from a gun deer hunt in far north Mn. and slipped 3x and fell on the back from the packed slick snow from the loggen truck and wearing wrong boots; at 65 I just do not bounce like I use to. Stay safe and enjoy the hunt.

08-Nov-17
Glad you are OK!

From: EMB
30-Nov-17

EMB's embedded Photo
EMB's embedded Photo
November 25th was my 1 year anniversary of my fall. I fell 25' and sustained a list of injuries 1/2 page long. My injuries included a broken pelvis, shoulder, tailbone, multiple vertebrae, finger, a severed artery, and various other internal injuries. I could use my left arm and right leg. I spent 9 days in the hospital, 2 of those in ICU, and 3 months in an inpatient rehab facility either in a wheelchair or bed.

In the beginning there was nothing I could do for myself. I could drink water if I could reach the glass. I was non weight bearing on my left leg and right arm for a full 3 months. Altogether I had 5 surgeries to repair all of the damage. I was only allowed to walk, with a waIlker, beginning at the end of February 2017. I promised myself that I would walk out of the rehab facility, and I did. While there I worked hard at everything they told me to do. Nothing like having an old gym rat for a patient.

Now, I was wearing a harness. The stand was a lock on type held to the tree with a 4000 lb strap. It was a big tree, and we installed an I bolt to hook on to. I had one foot on the ladder and one on the stand in the process of hooking up when the strap broke. It was like a trap door. After assessing my injuries, I realized I was badly injured and needed immediate help. Fortunately, I had my phone and coverage, the landowner knew my exact location, and I was in the trauma center within 1 1/2 hours.

To tell you that the last year has been agonizing work is a gross understatement. I still do about 3 1/2 hours of self imposed rehab 6 days a week. The doctors and PTs all tell me that I'm doing exceedingly well. I still have a ways to go with my shoulder, but I can pull my bow although at a slightly reduced draw weight- 60 lbs. I can now shoot any rifle in the closet-at least once. I'm told I will get to 95-100%, I'm likely high or low of 95% now. I'm determined to get to 100%, and refuse to stop until I'm there.

I now hunt mostly from ground blinds. I'm not afraid of stands, but I've learned that they may not be entirely necessary. There is a learning curve to using ground blinds, but I took my first post accident deer last week-a nice 7 point. I took it from field to freezer by myself. It was a real confidence builder. I now have no issues with packing my gear in and out of my hunting spots.

I haven't shared my story with many outside of my circle, but I feel that my experiences are best shared to prevent others from falling and becoming another statistic. There were 101 different possible outcomes, all bad. I was extremely lucky and blessed. As in every bad experience, there are silver linings. Here's what I've learned:

1. I knew about the life lines, but never took the time and effort to understand and use them. My feet will never leave the ground without me being hooked up to one. We installed one on every stand-even the tower stands. I will not hunt a stand without one.

2. I will not use a lock on stand. I know I can do it safely, but.... I will use a life line on a climber although I haven't had the cajones to use mine yet.

3. I will not install a stand without using a harness, lineman's belt, and life line.

4. I will observe every other safety rule that I have been skirting or ignoring.

5. New straps will be installed and used every year.

6. I've learned a lot about myself, my friends, and God. I wouldn't have made it through without faith in each-heavy in the later.

Notwithstanding, I still run into hunters who refuse to protect themselves from falling. Some don't see the need to even wear a harness let alone use a lineman's belt or life line. As for me I will never put myself in those circumstances again. I no longer believe that bad things happen to someone else.

Please be safe out there. No hunt is worth coming home in an ambulance or a box or months of painful and hard rehab hoping for a 100% recovery. Despite the severity and number of my injuries, I'm going to get there. Don't become a statistic.

30-Nov-17
Thanks for sharing. Glad you will be OK. Best wishes!

From: DartonJager
30-Nov-17
I spent days and days away from my family preparing a new piece of private land this year for hunting. Took 5 vacation days just for bow hunting. As it turned out my best stand and the one I decided to hunt 1st day of bow hunting is a 800+ yard walk through heavy woods. Got there and much to my utter gut wrenching dismay, I for got to pack my safety harness. I looked up at my stand some 22-24' off the ground and thought, "well I put it trough a hell of a preseason torture test and it passed with flying colors and it's a pin on not a strap on, and statistically the odds were LIKELY remote it would fail in any way" then I also thought "but if SOMETHING does happen I have no cell phone reception to call for help and its nearly a half mile to my truck and there are no other possible paths to safety" I did not hunt. I packed up and went back to my truck and got my harness.

No deer is worth dying for and or risk causing my family to suffer financial ruin. Becoming a father should change the priorities and perspectives of all decent men.

From: snapcrackpop
30-Nov-17
Hard lesson learned. Thanks for sharing.

From: Griz
30-Nov-17
I recently returned to PA from an Illinois hunt that my buddy and I worked out with a guy who has a lease out there. After sending me maps with stand locations, my buddy and I scouted the property and stands the day before the shotgun season opened. How these guys hunt this lease and don't get seriously hurt is the question we had. They had about 12 stands, all but one was a hang-on. The lone ladder stand had no straps holding it to the tree. It was simply leaned against the tree and had the stabilizer bar loosely attached about 4 feet off the ground. It would easily swing around and dump the contents (me) out. The hang ons were over 25 feet high, had been left out for an estimated 5 years, the stick straps were loose and rotten, and they had no lifelines. Every rule in the book was broken on these stands. One had a rotted wooden extension ladder leaned against another tree and you had to jump from that onto the platform!! Getting out of that one in the dark must have been a real thrill. You also had to step really high to get onto the platforms because the stands were set 18 inches above the top rung on the stick. Also, the cables on each stand, had lost their coating and were completely rusted. All disasters waiting to happen. For me and my buddy, both of which taught Hunter Safety and Bowhunter Ed for years, the choice was a no brainer. We ground hunted. We had not brought stands because the guy had told us how great his stands were. BS all the way. I hope no one gets hurt but I think someone will eventually.

From: Bowfreak
30-Nov-17
I can't imagine falling due to the fact I was too inconvenienced to prevent it with a simple equipment modification. Those of you who don't tie in are statistics waiting to happen and if it happens you will never forgive yourselves for creating a burden on your family if you survive.

From: HerdManager
30-Nov-17
" The extra time and enjoyment it would rob me of from my hunts is legitimate. I like to be mobile and move quick if needed. Trying to do that while being tied in all the time is essentially an oxymoron."

This is the most asinine statement I have ever seen. I hang my LW stand every time I hunt, and being tied with a lineman's belt actually makes it faster for me to get up. Having both hands free to set sticks and hang your stand makes it easier. And safer.

Stupid is as stupid does.............

From: DRR324
30-Nov-17
HM "I hang my LW stand every time I hunt, and being tied with a lineman's belt actually makes it faster for me to get up. Having both hands free to set sticks and hang your stand makes it easier. And safer."

same here, way faster with both hands free. Quick and quiet process with LW system.

From: Zebrakiller
30-Nov-17

Zebrakiller's embedded Photo
Zebrakiller's embedded Photo
Yep I couldn't do much for almost a year, tried to catch myself as I fell tore everything , doc did a great job on my and tons of work in gym to get back to normal

From: brooktrout59
30-Nov-17
Great post E MB - there certainly are lessons to be learned about stand safety- wish I had read a post like yours before my fall.

From: EMB
30-Nov-17
The few extra minutes you may spend staying safe are far less an inconvenience than going through what I did or worse. I did forget to mention the effect that my fall had on my family, business and finances. I regularly used all other safety devices except for the life line. I just thought the ladders were safer to use. A 4000 lb strap breaking? Impossible.

A life line costs around $30 and takes less than 5 minutes to install on an existing stand. Even if I had installed and used it the day of my fall, I think it would have only added another 1-2 minutes to my climb-even in the dark. I don't think it would not add a single second to a climbing stand. I slide the tree strap up and down as I go anyway.

Learning lessons by getting hit upside the head isn't necessary if you can learn from another's bad experience. But, good judgment usually, but not always, follows bad judgment.

From: Pyrannah
30-Nov-17
Emb, I’m just curious but you said you had safety gear on.. were you stepping on to the lock-in and were just not strapped in to the tree? Even without a lifeline you could have been attached by a tree strap to your tether..

I probably misread your post..

Thanks

From: Pyrannah
30-Nov-17
Also sorry to hear about your fall.. glad your still alive, at 25’ gravity will get you going pretty fast by the time you hit!i

From: EMB
30-Nov-17
I was wearing my vest. I always hooked up as I got in the stand. I was in the process of hooking up when the strap broke. I had one foot on the ladder and the other on the stand. I needed to reach another 2" farther and higher to hook up. So, I put a little more weight on the foot on the stand, and the bottom dropped out.

My Navy Seal nephew calculated around 35 mph. I didn't know that was possible. Several months after I was released from rehab, another hunter asked how high I was. He didn't think 25' was all that far.

From: Pyrannah
30-Nov-17
25’ is damn high imo

I only hunt 15’ and even that makes me nervous..

Thanks for your post

From: Arrowone
30-Nov-17
HM x3. My Muddy harness and linemen’s belt are so easy to use it makes hanging sticks and stands not only safer, but faster. Once the stand is hung and before stepping on the safety belt goes around tree. The carabiner to the tether is clipped at my right shoulder so it’s a easy hook up to safety belt. Then disconnect lineman’s belt and step on stand. I have safety lines in all my regular trees where leave stands in place. That is great. Quick and safe. Guys this should be really obvious...be safe. Thank you to all for sharing your experiences. Many who read this post will now be more careful.

From: Bentstick81
30-Nov-17
Reading this is EXACTLY why i hunt on the ground, and really haven't missed packing all the weight in. Naps are more sound to. LOL

From: EMB
01-Dec-17
I went back and read this thread in its entirety. For those unbelievers let me tell you the rest of the story.

I was 60 at the time. I was 6' @ 175 lbs with a 32" waist. I regularly ran, biked, and worked out at the gym. I've been doing that for the last 40 odd years. I am athletic to the point of obsession and firmly believe in physical fitness. I've always used fall restraints. BTW the old belts make great haul ropes to get your game out of the woods. I am very careful climbing ladders and trees. 3 points of contact at all times and slow and deliberate. I've never had so much as a close call. My wife teased that I was Mr. Safety. Yet, I fell. My wife got up early for Black Friday and was meeting our youngest daughter at Bass Pro that morning. She got the call shortly after 6:30 am and collapsed in the middle of the store. The landowner used my phone to call her. Our oldest daughter, who lives in SC, raced to the Augusta trauma center. She stayed right with me until my wife was able to arrange travel several days later. She returned when my wife left to come home to firm up arrangements for my follow up rehab and care.

The pain was excruciating, the drugs mind numbing and mind altering. I was not in charge of anything. Medical decisions were made by my wife and daughter. Much information was kept from me thinking that I had enough worries. Weeks later I learned just how close everything had been. I had IVs, a catheter through my abdomen to my bladder, things on my legs to assist blood flow and prevent clots, my right arm was in a sling, my broken fingers splinted. I remember getting at least 4 units of blood during my stay. Periodically, they would roll me one way or the other to prevent bed sores and to change the linens. That hurt. I was on oxygen and some sort of breathing device. I had a collapsed lung. It hurt to breathe.

They took me home by ambulance to a rehab facility in Sarasota, Florida. The first day the PTs came in to teach me how to slide/scoot on a board from the bed to the wheelchair. It was painful and painful to watch. My wife left the room. I passed out. I could not sit up to get out of bed. I could not lift my left foot off the ground unassisted. I still had the catheter and urine bag that required regular attention. That did not come out until mid-March. I was very weak and entirely dependent on others to attend me. I could only sleep flat on my back supported by multiple pillows.

I broke my humerus right below the ball in my shoulder, basically in 2. It was repaired with screws and plates. I could not use my arm for 8 weeks. Then it was still non weight bearing and passive rehab only for another 4 weeks. My entire right arm was affected from my broken fingers to my neck. A week or so after the sling was removed, I discovered that I could wipe my own butt. I have no recollection of breaking my arm or fingers. They guess I tried to catch myself. It was not underneath me when I fell. The grip strength in my right hand was 2 lbs as compared to 90 lbs in my left. Just in the last 90 days am I able to make a fist and close my hand. I still cannot raise my arm from the side to an overhead position without it "catching".

My pelvis was broken in 4-5 places. Basically, it was 2 halves. They repaired it with screws and plates. There was nothing they could do for the tailbone or vertebrae except let them heal. I still use a "special" cushion to sit on-mostly for driving. But I needed to get out of bed. I could only do that for several hours at a time. It was September before I could walk with a normal gait. That came after months of work on a treadmill.

The oxys caused more problems. I insisted on being off of them. They insisted I needed them for PT and OT. I insisted on another way. Advil and Ice. I would rather deal with the pain on my own terms without drugs. PT and OT were painful and for a gym rat working with 2-5 lb weights somewhat discouraging. But, that was all I could do. The PTs and OTs were great and did a lot to encourage and help me. My wife couldn't watch.

I had many visitors-family, friends and colleagues . Some could stomach it and some could not. My daughter went outside and cried. My office staff would bring me work and set up an office at the rehab center. I had little energy or stamina and could only work a hour or so at a time. My family decorated my room for Christmas. I was the envy of the facility. Oh boy. My wife came every day. With traffic it could be a 2-4 hour round trip for her. I tried to remain strong and positive. Honestly, it was an hour to hour and day to day struggle, but a struggle that I think I mostly won. I still go back and re-read the mountain of cards and letters I received when I'm feeling down or discouraged.

The muscle atrophy was immediate and astonishing. Within a few weeks I had loose skin where muscle used to be almost like a fat person who looses weight rapidly. My right arm and left leg were pencil thin. I teased with my PT that I would only do my exercised half assed. It was that bad and immediate. There are still noticeable left and right size and strength differences. My waist ballooned to 44" and my weight to 200 lbs. They insisted on a particular diet and daily calorie intake. I'm now at 34" and 162 lbs. I'll probable be low of 155 lbs by the time I get my waist back to where I started. I lost that much muscle mass. It'll be difficult to get back.

I'm self employed with 3 employees who depend on me for their income. I'm the only real income source for my business. I purchased very good medical insurance for my office and family. But it only paid $7k of a $45k helicopter ride and $2.5k of a $6k ambulance ride home. I had zero income for 8 months. I've spent $100k of savings to pay my normal bills. I'll still need to pay the helicopter and ambulance companies after the appeals are exhausted. Home repairs and renovations were put off or abated. My plans to buy a new truck are off for the foreseeable future.

I now start my day with about 1 1/2 hours of hand and shoulder exercises and stretches for my back, legs, hand and shoulder. After work I go the gym for another 2 hours. 1 hour 10 mins of cardio split between the eliptical rider, bike, and treadmill. I then work the selected muscle group for the day. I do this 6 days a week. I don't get home until 8:00-8:30 pm. Eat, go to bed, and do it again. I'm just now up to a 15 mile bike ride on Saturday mornings. I'm not up to trail riding yet. I can now haul 50-60 lbs of gear on back into the woods without issue. I believe I have another 4-6 months to go to full 100% recovery. It still hurts, but the pain is manageable without medication. My strength is returning, but at my age I doubt that I'll be able to rebuild the muscle mass.

I have mild to moderate PTSD. I remember every single millisecond of my fall and every event right up to the time I made it to ICU. It's difficult to relate my story unemotionally. I have some bad nights. Last week was my first time in a tower stand since my accident. I was entirely safe, but I was trembling. That was entirely involuntary. It didn't happen again, but I don't know if it will return.

I've revised my safety plan. I used to give my wife a map of the general area I intended to hunt and update her with Lat/Lon locations from the field. I'd call her when I got out of the woods that night. I'm convinced that having my phone saved my life. I shudder to think what I would have had to do if I didn't have my phone or didn't have coverage. Knowing me I would have assessed, planned, and implemented for self rescue. I just don't think I would have survived. If I did, I feel certain that I would have injured myself more in the process.

You don't have to be far off the beaten track not to have cell service. In addition to my phone, I now have a Delorme Inreach Satellite PLB. It has GPS, text and email capabilities and an emergency SOS signal. Cost $300. It connects to an app on my phone via Bluetooth. I can program any number of messages that can be sent with the push of a button such as "Just checking in. Everything's fine". All messages to my wife include my current Lat/Lon. It continuously updates my wife on my exact track and location. She can follow it on the computer if she gets bored. I check in at regular intervals.

And, I'm one of the "lucky" statistics. You're all adults able to make your own decisions, but think about this. An accident does not affect just you. It affects all those who depend on you. Every fall and resulting injuries are different, but my story does not appear to be atypical. If you still decide to stay your course, go in peace. I'm not here to judge. However, if even one more person follows the advice here and learns from my experience and poor judgment, I feel redeemed.

Be safe out there.

From: Hawkeye
01-Dec-17
So sorry you went through that EMB-but I am thankful you're sharing this story. God Bless and Happy Holidays. You are a true warrior. You might have saved a few lives with your posts.....

From: brooktrout59
01-Dec-17
EMB - sounds like you and I Are extremely lucky to have survived 20 plus foot falls. Also very lucky to have great family support.

I also got off OXYCONTIN very quickly as well as Baclofin, Nerontin and a host of other drugs that made we want to do literally nothing but staying in bed!

My salvation was and still is lap swimming for 1/2 mile At least 3 days per week. The post swim high lasts much longer than any pain pill.

You are doing everything right and trust me it gets easier- took me about 2-3 years to get used to life in a wheelchair. Now with limitations and adaptive equipment feel pretty good about life and really enjoy everything about archery and Bowhunting.

Keep up your great attitude and spirit- it inspires me and that is saying something!

From: Hawkeye
01-Dec-17
Just read your post Brook. Thanks for having the courage to post. You have a great attitude and glad you are back in the timber. Appreciate all that have shared here and I wish you the best. Although I use life lines, harnesses and am very careful-this thread as made me even more aware.

From: Ironbow
02-Dec-17
EMB/Blake,

Thanks so much for taking the time for sharing all of this. I have copied everything you wrote and will print it out for a friend of mine. His set ups are sketchy and I keep reminding him it is only a matter of time.

May you have a complete recovery.

From: sticksender
03-Dec-17
EMB thanks for “coming out” to share your story in such full blown detail. I believe doing so will help wake up some guys who may be climbing unsafe. I know as for myself, every time I hear about another painful experience like your’s it makes me rethink and improve my own tree climbing habits. In fact after considering the risks that I invariably take while installing & using portables every year, this year for the first time I’m hunting strictly from a climber, tied to the tree 100% of the time.

From: rooster
03-Dec-17
Way too many posts for me to read all so what I'm about to say may have been stated already. APuls and the others that don't bother using a harness while climbing; you're kidding yourselves by thinking that because you may be young and fit that you won't suffer serious injury fro a fall. That is flawed logic and its selfish thinking. If you have time to inspt your sticks and stand before climbing you have time to secure a life line above you, clip in and move the line up as you go. How simple is that?

From: JL
03-Dec-17

JL's embedded Photo
JL's embedded Photo
I've fallen twice, once back in the 1970's when the home made climber slid down a southern pine tree and again in 1995-ish trying to put up a ladder stand on too small of a tree. In both cases it wasn't the fall that hurt but the sudden stop at the bottom. No major injuries other than pride and some bruised ribs.

Last week was a close one when the fairly new stick ladder had a rung with a cold weld. I was coming done and the weld broke loose. Luckily my inner ninja kicked in and I still had one foot and two hands still on the stick. The teachable moment is of course use your safety line and just because something is new doesn't mean it can't fail. That includes stands, sticks, ladders and harnesses.

03-Dec-17
A buddy of mine fell back in the 1970s. Rammed a broadhead thru the back of his knee. Had to push it through, screw the bh off and then pull the arrow out. Then hiked back to his car and drove himself to hospital.

His brother went back to get his gear and just followed the blood trail.

I always wear a harness...

From: JL
03-Dec-17

JL's embedded Photo
JL's embedded Photo

From: Teeton
03-Dec-17

Teeton's embedded Photo
Teeton's embedded Photo
This year I fell climb up into my already placed tree stand. I have a linemens belt I use when I'm putting in tree steps and stands. I away wear a harness once I'm in the tree stand. After that fall, which luckily I only twisted and sprained my right ankle. I now have lifelines for all my stands. (Anyone remember the post I started a month or 2 ago on field & stream having life lines for 17.98 )

I now use my linemens belt to put my steps and stands in, I then attach my life line just above the tree stand. Hook my life line to the linemen's belt, unhook the linemens strap that goes around the tree and climb into my stand and then reposition my life line up higher in tree.. Here's a pic on my tree stand safety gear. Ed

From: lawdy
03-Dec-17
I don't hunt out of tree stands but use a safety harness when on staging. Took a flop off staging at 20 feet a week ago. Fell about 2 feet when my harness stopped the fall. That would have been real nasty at 20 feet onto the boards with nails that I was stripping off a wall. Worked one summer for Bethlehem Steel on a high bridge. I wore a safety belt and tied down. Some didn't. Saw 6 painters die all at once when their scaffolding let go. They didn't tie down and fell 60 feet on to rip wrap. Those who climb without a harness are biding time, just like a biker with no helmet. There are two kinds of bikers, those of us who have been down and those who are going down. Safety involves common sense and the realization that we are not bullet proof.

From: JL
03-Dec-17
""Safety involves common sense and the realization that we are not bullet proof.""

Yup.....like you said, there are those that have....and those that will.

From: Arrowone
03-Dec-17
NYS DEC recorded 4 hunter fatalities from tree stand falls in 2017(one may have been medical). To the non-believers: this stuff really happens.

From: deaver25btb
03-Dec-17
Growing up we used just the belts. Then progressed to the full body harness that we hooked into when we climbed into the stand. Then one year my Dad made up a bunch of lifelines for us. I thought they were kind of cumbersome, but decided to use them since he made them for us.

I had this one stand that was about 25’ up and you had to use several limbs (yes, I know a bad idea) to get into the stand. I was coming down from the stand one afternoon, and the limb I was holding onto just let go. About 20’ up. As I was free falling, I thought this is not good at all. Then about 2’ into the fall, if that, the lifeline caught and I was secure again. No telling what would have happened to me it I wouldn’t have had the lifeline that day. I cringe when I read some of these posts and people just choose not to where a harness and use a life line. Be safe guys.

From: Salt
04-Dec-17
I have used a hunter safety system for years while in the stand, but never for climbing to and from the stand. Thanks to you guys i will be installing rope system to all 15 of my stands prior to next fall. Thanks to all bowsiters for opening my eyes.

04-Dec-17

Charlie Rehor's embedded Photo
Charlie Rehor's embedded Photo
Friend did a 360 during the fall and “only” shattered his ankle. He will hunt again but every tree now has a safety line and NO more 4 foot section climbing sticks. 4 foot sections of climbing sticks with one strap are death traps. Avoid!

From: Pyrannah
04-Dec-17
Charlie, why are those sticks so bad? They seem pretty solid to me?

Are you referring to the 20’ ladder sticks that come in four foot sections ?

04-Dec-17
Pyrannah: The single strap on these independent 4 foot sections clamps down on the strap to tighten and eventually the rain and sun will eat away the strap right where it clamps at tightening.

20 foot sticks that lock into each other with multiple straps are the safest way to go and all we use now. If someone insist on using 4 foot sections separately add a SECOND strap. I would predict these four foot separate climbing sections will either disappear or will come with 2 straps. Sun and rain eat cloth straps. Life lines on every tree!!!! I was very lucky my first 35 years of tree hunting.

04-Dec-17
To add to what Charlie posted..I use the climbing sticks that insert into each other,male / female ...very safe..AND,I simply lay my sections out on the Forrest floor,insert all of it together as one unit,then simply place it against the tree I've chosen,strap as high as I can reach,then work my way up,,in 40 years of tree stand experience,,this is the quietest method I've used,ultra safe...I have a story similar to EMB's,not as bad but almost ruined my life....an old saying we used to say in the rock climbing circle,,," a moments negligence can ruin a lifetime,forever.....stay safe brother's

From: Turkeyhunter
04-Dec-17
Fell 21 feet two years ago putting up 2 man ladder stands. Had two of my guides holding the bottom of the stand as i took the strap off to move the stand. The ladder stand broke in the middle and down i went. I thought since i had 2 people holding the bottom of the ladder into the tree that i would be fine...I landed on Moss and very luck to walk away......We have removed all the two man chinese made ladder stands as in my mind, the welds and tube framing rust very fast and are not safe.

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