So What's Your Personal Escape Plan?
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
Stringwacker 19-Nov-21
White Falcon 19-Nov-21
bentstick54 19-Nov-21
Stringwacker 19-Nov-21
Jaquomo 19-Nov-21
Stringwacker 19-Nov-21
Rocky D 19-Nov-21
Stringwacker 19-Nov-21
spike78 19-Nov-21
Pyrannah 19-Nov-21
DanaC 19-Nov-21
Stringwacker 19-Nov-21
hawkeye in PA 19-Nov-21
cnelk 19-Nov-21
ND String Puller 19-Nov-21
milnrick 19-Nov-21
Scrappy 19-Nov-21
Meat Grinder 19-Nov-21
APauls 19-Nov-21
soccern23ny 19-Nov-21
JohnMC 19-Nov-21
Shiloh 19-Nov-21
rallison 19-Nov-21
Buffalo1 19-Nov-21
Hank_S 19-Nov-21
Huntiam 20-Nov-21
Stringwacker 20-Nov-21
TREESTANDWOLF 20-Nov-21
DanaC 20-Nov-21
Blood 20-Nov-21
Stringwacker 20-Nov-21
Stringwacker 20-Nov-21
MA-PAdeerslayer 20-Nov-21
2Wild Bill 20-Nov-21
Buffalo1 20-Nov-21
Stringwacker 20-Nov-21
2Wild Bill 20-Nov-21
Rocky D 20-Nov-21
Stringwacker 20-Nov-21
Rocky D 20-Nov-21
Stringwacker 20-Nov-21
drycreek 20-Nov-21
Rocky D 20-Nov-21
Pete-pec 20-Nov-21
Pyrannah 20-Nov-21
JL 20-Nov-21
Rocky D 20-Nov-21
JL 20-Nov-21
Rocky D 20-Nov-21
Rocky D 20-Nov-21
Old Reb 20-Nov-21
Hank_S 20-Nov-21
Hank_S 20-Nov-21
Hank_S 20-Nov-21
Stringwacker 22-Nov-21
Stringwacker 22-Nov-21
Stringwacker 22-Nov-21
goyt 22-Nov-21
Surfbow 22-Nov-21
bdfrd24v 22-Nov-21
TD 23-Nov-21
IdyllwildArcher 23-Nov-21
Cornpone 25-Nov-21
Alaska at heart 26-Nov-21
bchunter2 27-Nov-21
bchunter2 27-Nov-21
Badger_16 28-Nov-21
elkster 30-Nov-21
Vonfoust 30-Nov-21
Live2Hunt 30-Nov-21
From: Stringwacker
19-Nov-21
I rarely post on the board; but I have read it for years. I can't ever recall this subject being discussed but what's your escape plan in context of getting yourself extracted from a harness 20' up in a tree? It seems harness manufacturers often throw that line out there (utilize your personal escape plan) without any further suggestions.

To make it clear, lets say you have a suspension strap and some how you have reached behind you, attached the strap to the small back loop, without a visual reference, while under duress....and haven't dropped it to the ground.

Your all set know to hang...what's next? I can see if you use portable sticks this likely offers a way down. But what about a climber? Maybe even a ladder stand when a life line is used and your suspended between the ladder and the tree?

I have tried the rapid descent approach in the past....let's just say that approach is no longer recommended:)

From: White Falcon
19-Nov-21
I always have a safety line on my tree to get down with. Hunter Safety system!

19-Nov-21
I keep a knife to where I can get to it easily with no restriction from harness, coat, or anything else. But I rarely hang a stand more than 12’ above the ground, so if I can’t get back onto my climbing sticks/ladder, if I cut my tether strap it’s only 4’ or 5’ from my feet to the ground. I’ve never hunted a place that I needed to be 20’ up to be successful.

From: Stringwacker
19-Nov-21
So you use a safety line while in a climber and just let it hang to the ground? Perhaps wrap it around your leg and slide down? I use these as well but have never have used them on climbers as I don't have the room for a 30' rope in my pack. It also leads to the same question if employed and your hanging from a safety line rope would you reach up and cut your harness tether in order to slide down the rope?

I have purchased a decender system but I don't think its going to work in practice like most people envision it.... based my own use.

From: Jaquomo
19-Nov-21
But if your harness is attached to the tree and you are swinging from the safety cable on the harness, you can't detach and reattach to the Prussic knot.

I guess I've always figured (hoped) I could get to a step or the ladder to take the weight off the harness and get reoriented. Glad I've never had to do it, but I also did the rapid descent and lucky to be still walking.

From: Stringwacker
19-Nov-21
Jaquomo...you hit the nail on the head. You can't get to the Prussic knot as it too high up on your tether while suspended. Like Bentstick54, I keep a knife handy to cut the tether as I feel like it will come down to that eventually if you hang long enough.

Even if you call on your cell for help; it's not likely they are going to have a long ladder to get you down handy. I just think this subject requires more attention.

From: Rocky D
19-Nov-21
I wear the waist band loosely so I will release leg straps and let gravity take its course and hopefully be able to grab the harness on the way out!

Second line of safety us a pocket knife in my right front pants pocket.

From: Stringwacker
19-Nov-21
I have given this a lot of thought and I can only think of one (nearly) foolproof way to extract yourself without involving cutting your tether or giving up the safety of your harness (both of which involve incredible risk as a last ditch effort)

I bought one of the decender systems; but I find it hangs too low and the hardware clanks badly. I also jumped a few times to adjust it and trust me, it will either run a bit fast or will not run at all.

But....perhaps if you had a rock climbing harness that attached to the front at waist level; if you fall and are suspended, maybe you could attach the decender to the tree, then to the front of your harness and then cut the original harness tether for a controlled decent. Even that system would require carrying the extra weight of the decender and have pockets large enough for the extra hardware to be stored until needed.

I think I would like the first line of defense to be a normal suspension system as the decender can run too fast to impale you on some of the steps used in some portable systems. Additionally, not all treestand accidents require you to get to the ground. Sometimes you can get back to your stand with less risk. Any other ideas?

From: spike78
19-Nov-21
Great thread as we have had 4 tree stand falls so far this year in MA and that’s only the ones I know about.

From: Pyrannah
19-Nov-21
hmm i always thought i would be able to get around and get on my line wolf sticks..

one of the big reasons i have gone with this sytem

From: DanaC
19-Nov-21
Big safe ladder stand or hunt on the ground. When I hang it won't be accidental ;-)

From: Stringwacker
19-Nov-21
When you look at the overall picture here, seems like any portable stick system would give you the best chance (assuming that you are good at originally getting them in the tree) but even these systems have failure.

I was using the rapid rail system years ago from the original manufacturer with the hook and cinch system. When I stepped on the top rung; the stand kicked out, freed itself from the tree and fell to the ground. Being young and bold I just slid down the tree like a fire pole until I got to the next set of steps

19-Nov-21
Good thread. From my experience at work if your wearing a full body harness with rear attachment your not reaching into your front pants pocket as the thigh straps is now up over the front pockets. We had a 6' tether strap, which left you bang off of things, quite often on your back side.

Getting back up on a tree stand is no easy task from under it. Don't ask.

From: cnelk
19-Nov-21
If you had experience with the old Baker climbers, you’ve already figured this out

19-Nov-21
A couple folding screw in steps in you pocket might give you a fighting chance ?

From: milnrick
19-Nov-21
Whether you're hunting from a lock on using sticks, or ladder and lose your balance and fall you've got options;

First, STAY CALM and deploy the suspension relief device/strap and get a foot into the stirru (hopefully you adjusted it to fit your needs before its needed.)

If you don't have suspension - relief thingamajig move your legs in a bike pedal motion to minimize suspension trauma and keep bloodflow to your legs.

Then determine if you've sustained any injuries.

Next, get back into the stand and ultimately get back on the ground.

Getting back onto your ladder or lock-in can be dicey if you don't have the tree strap or the lifeline's prucix and tether sitting right, but it's doable.

We've stepped off stands (ladders and lock-on type) a few times. First to get certified as a treestand Safety instructor and later to demo the process to IBEP classes.

From: Scrappy
19-Nov-21
I've had my stand break and fall out from under me twice. I wear a rock climbing harness and keep is tethered to the tree so that I have absolutely no fall. Both time all I had to do was stand up on the climbing stick. A full body harness is just to dangerous in my opinion.

From: Meat Grinder
19-Nov-21
I often hunt alone and have been using a climber much of this season. I bought a Treestand Wingman descent system this year to use with the climber. I need to rig up some sort of cover for the mechanism so it doesn't clank on the hand climber. It gives me confidence while in a climber, but of course hope I never need it.

Hope everyone has a safe and productive season.

From: APauls
19-Nov-21
I’m already hanging right where I want to be on a saddle ;)

From: soccern23ny
19-Nov-21
My personal plan is to not have my feet more than 8ft off the ground.

Might be at a disadvantage hunting at times, but it's not worth the risk, hassel, and gear needed to be high up.

From: JohnMC
19-Nov-21

JohnMC's embedded Photo
JohnMC's embedded Photo
I am ordering a jet pack

From: Shiloh
19-Nov-21
Ndstringpuller’s answer seems most logical to me for a fool proof way to get out of a bind.

Or you can switch to a saddle.

From: rallison
19-Nov-21
Great thread! This is no joke. I'm 69, with one titanium knee and the other needing it. For the last couple years I've resorted to ground-pounding!

From: Buffalo1
19-Nov-21
The first thing I do before I ever ascend to a stand is see if the safety belt life is good or has expired. If expired, I don't use and climb till I have a safe dated belt to use. Most belts are only good for 3-5 yrs. I think this is where tree stand safety begins.

From: Hank_S
19-Nov-21
Cnelk…Bingo!!!

From: Huntiam
20-Nov-21
Mabye carry a screw in tree step in your vest or something easy to access ..I no illegal in some states but I’d take my chance before hanging to death

From: Stringwacker
20-Nov-21
I like the step idea...but maybe a rope type that could be easier slid up and down the tree. Maybe your first steps would be up to get to the prussic knot; but then again maybe not as eventually it has to stay above you unless you cut the tether.

I still believe that too many people think their harness will save them but all it does (and it's a big 'all") is to keep you from hitting the ground. The real work of extraction starts once your suspended.

With an aging hunter base, I wouldn't think relying on upper arm strength to get you back in the stand is a reliable approach.

The basis of the thread is to see if there is a better way. In 50 years of climbing trees, I have had my moments...probably could write a small book about them. At each mishap, I improvised and developed a new strategy to overcome the next incident of the same nature.

The problem is that no treestand accident follows a known script. In some ways they are all different. Case in point. I used to in my early days use a climber without staying attached the entire time (dumb). I would attach at the hunting height but not up and down. Well one morning after an all night rain, I attached my climber and had made ONE pump and the top portion didn't grab when I sit on it and it fell to the base of the stand...most importantly throwing me off the back of the stand. Problem was my feet were still in the stand stirrups so I was suspended just high enough that my fingers could rake the ground but nothing else. My backpack had flown off my shoulders it (and my cell phone) laid just beyond the reach of my fingers. I couldn't pull myself up because I didn't have an anchor point above the bottom stand base.

The short of all of it as I hung for an hour in terrible pain, steady kicking at the straps that held my two feet, while pulling myself level with the platform (by grabbing it with my hand) on occasion to keep from passing out from being upside down so long. I feared that by kicking the straps, one might break while to other stayed in place...snapping my leg. Still, what choice did I have? I had just about given up and one final kick broke the strap, my body twisted and my foot twisted out of the other strap and I hit the ground....blessed relief.

While this incident was self inflicted due to not following the 'stay attached to the tree at all times' many others are not. There just has to be a better way other than hunting off the ground.

20-Nov-21
Cell Phone, with battery charger, left chest pocket. One screw in step to help take pressure off the harness and legs.

And I now only hunt ladders with safety lines.

It just makes sense for me.

Great thread.

From: DanaC
20-Nov-21
Nobody mentioned 'three point' climbing

From: Blood
20-Nov-21
Why wouldn’t you just pull out the safety suspension relief tether that’s in your safety harness, step into it to relieve tension, hug the tree, unclip and slide down??

From: Stringwacker
20-Nov-21
Blood, that would certainly work in many cases (especially where the tree isn't so large that you can't get a good hold on it) That involves a lot of risk and a degree of physical ability but I guess your already in a risky situation. I have actually done it that way before.

I don't think you can unclip on most harnesses unless you clip out of the vest itself as the tether caribiner is too far above your head; still...you could make it work but would need a knife to cut the tether I think.

I think that's the most common way of extraction though there are many situations where that doesn't work due to tree variations

From: Stringwacker
20-Nov-21
Dana, what's three point climbing?

20-Nov-21
I had a tree tip backwards into a hemlock A few feet away while hunting a few years back. Had to get unattached and climb down the hemlock. That was sketchy. Then had to climb back up for my gear after I settled down and processed what just happened lol

From: 2Wild Bill
20-Nov-21
Very good thread which reflects a varity of ideas and experiences.

"Getting back up on a tree stand is no easy task from under it."

Therefore, I set harness attachment to insure that if I fall, my shoulders will not drop below the platform.

"I keep a knife to where I can get to it easily with no restriction from harness, coat, or anything else. " So where is that? I wear a Glock field knife strapped to my right calf.

"If you had experience with the old Baker climbers, you’ve already figured this out" I had a Summit slip down maybe 4" on a hard smooth bark tree and would have sworn it went down a foot.

"still...you could make it work but would need a knife to cut the tether I think." Blood, that may be a case of "easier said than done", but I also would like to believe it possible. Those of you who consider cutting yourself free, ponder this, where is that open knife going to be when you reach the ground. Throwing it in any direction where it might bounce back into your landing zone bothers me some.

DanaC, Three point as in, one hand and two feet, or, two hands and one foot? DanaC, BTW my surgery turned out to be a quadruple bypass 11/12/2021, home, happy and healing.

From: Buffalo1
20-Nov-21
I’m wondering out of the responses thus far, how many have actually experienced falling out of a tree stand ?

I have

From: Stringwacker
20-Nov-21
The reason I'm asking as I have on multiple occasions...the most serious from a ladder stand which is usually considered the safest. I'm convinced that 98%+ of all treestand accidents are user error vs equipment error..... so I guess the best way to extract yourself isn't to fall in the first place.

But with that said, we all know....etc.

From: 2Wild Bill
20-Nov-21
One time, when I decided to decend with my climber, the platform cable came out on one side and dangled on the tether to the upper portion. I was braced on my forearms to the hand section. This particular climber had a strap for a sit and stand operation, which I didn't like and was not using, till then. I got one knee into that seat strap and with some difficulty managed to hoist the lower platform up to me and re-attach the cable. I set the platform to the tree and stood on it as I thanked God. My harness tether was attached above the hand climber section and didn't come into play. Later, I installed a 1" tubular nylon strap on my other climber which did not have one.

From: Rocky D
20-Nov-21

Rocky D's embedded Photo
Rocky D's embedded Photo
Stringwacker, at one time statistically there were more accidents annually from ladders vs climbing stands.

I’ve shared this more than once on similar posts.

From: Stringwacker
20-Nov-21
RockyD, looks like a Treewalker? That’s one of the climbers I use and consider it my safest. What happened?

From: Rocky D
20-Nov-21
It is a tree walker and a pin came out! It was my favorite but not any more!

Someone else on here had the same issue. I have not done so yet but I am going to get a couple of the ol man screw on pins to rectify the problem.

From: Stringwacker
20-Nov-21
I actually had that happen and I lost the bottom portion…I thought it was because maybe I didn’t flip the latch. Now maybe not….

From: drycreek
20-Nov-21
My plan has always been to never get in a lock on. So far that has worked. I did watch the bottom of my climber bumper jack itself down the tree once though. That’s when I knew I had to have a rope on it ! I was barely able to reach it with my toes and get it back up. I couldn’t do that nowadays, I’m too old and weak.

From: Rocky D
20-Nov-21
Nope, mine wallowed out a bit!

I think that was when you don’t pay attention the your toe pushes it up and as you go up the tree and it pushes the lock off.

I was horribly disappointed and was wondering if this problem was part of the reason that they had gone out of business.

From: Pete-pec
20-Nov-21
I hunt ladder stands, and no tether or harness for me. The better question is how is the coroner going to find me? Lol

From: Pyrannah
20-Nov-21
not sure why people aren't liking loc one they seem way more dependable then a climber

From: JL
20-Nov-21
Rock....that looks like a Ruger M77 MKII that did a bounce-check off the ground???

WRT to the thread topic and trying to think out of the box......why couldn't you run two lines up the tree when you do the initial set up. One of course is your safety line. The second is a line next to the safety line with some loops tied into it every 15" or so. If you're safety harness did it's job and you're still hung out to dry, you could just put your foot into one of the loops on the second line and re-collect your thoughts. After you get yourself together....climb up to the prussic knot and/or down to the ground using the "loop line." You could make a "loop line" out of some anchor line you get at Home Depot or Lowes. It doesn't have to be fancy...just functional to get you safely back to the stand or to the ground.

From: Rocky D
20-Nov-21
JL, it’s a Remington 700 in 280 AI with a hogue stock. Luckily I had lifted it off of the ground. I keep thinking about putting a HS Precision stock on it but it shoots well under a half inch Mia so I just leave it alone.

P.S. it has a Hawk Hill barrel.

From: JL
20-Nov-21
Rock...I've heard some good stuff about the 280AI. I have stainless all weather MKII's and yours looked like it was one from the photo. My newest I got earlier this year is a Christensen Arms Ridgeline in 6.5 PRC with a Vortex AMG on top. I do my own reloads and currently set up with 140 Accubonds. I took two deer yesterday with it and 4 critters in Montana recently. I hope and pray I never drop it from the ground or tree stand like in your picture. I feel the same way about my bow too.

From: Rocky D
20-Nov-21
JL, actually I prefer the 6.5 PRC over the Creedmoor out to 500 yards.

Frankly, I’m really don’t care about ultra long distance.

From: Rocky D
20-Nov-21

From: Old Reb
20-Nov-21
I learned from watching a tree stand safety video that you should attach your tether strap at a height above your head so that when you sit down the tether is just about taught. That way if you fall off the stand you won't fall below the stand and then you will have an easier time getting back on the stand. A guy demonstrated this technique on the video at a low height and he easily got back on the loc on type stand. Using a life line you should be able to get back on your steps if you fall while climbing. Luckily I have never fallen yet. Knock on wood.

From: Hank_S
20-Nov-21
Cnelk…Bingo!!!

From: Hank_S
20-Nov-21
Cnelk…Bingo!!!

From: Hank_S
20-Nov-21
Cnelk…Bingo!!!

From: Stringwacker
22-Nov-21
I actually had that happen and I lost the bottom portion…I thought it was because maybe I didn’t flip the latch. Now maybe not….

From: Stringwacker
22-Nov-21
RockyD, looks like a Treewalker? That’s one of the climbers I use and consider it my safest. What happened?

From: Stringwacker
22-Nov-21
Not sure how I got a delayed double post. Sorry

From: goyt
22-Nov-21
I use hang on stands with sticks or steps. One morning I was in a stand and was standing on the front of the stand bending over to pull up my pack w/o touching anything to avoid making noise. A one year old strap on the stand separated and I was hanging from my tether back to the tree. I had no trouble at all kicking off from the tree, getting turned around and then holding onto the rope while I walked around the tree to the climbing sticks while suspended. The failed strap looked like new but the stitching had failed. I tied the strap to the stand with a double knot, rehung it and was back in business in short order. I guess I never even considered the problem being addressed here. I normally carry a sharp step in an easy access pocket to start a hole for a bow hanger or something. It would be a good idea to make sure that I always have one handy in case I fall and need to use it to get down.

From: Surfbow
22-Nov-21
I'm not a tree stand expert by any means, did my first whitetail hunt last week actually. I used a rock climbing harness on a safety line with double prussic knots so you can let yourself down the line if you fall, set up by a buddy who does tree care. It's kinda like a tree saddle, luckily I didn't fall but the system worked great!

From: bdfrd24v
22-Nov-21
Old Reb is 100% right. Don't put yourself in a position to be "dangling" from your tether. Keep that thing to where it is almost tight when you sit down. When climbing do the same thing. Move it each time you go move. Keep your risk minimal.

I hunt from a saddle, climber, lock on and ladders. All can be very safe. I've heard guys say they don't have room in their pack and safety stuff is bulky. BS. I always keep a spare linemans belt and multiple carabiners in my pack. If I forget something I'm not risking getting off the ground. I did some dumb stuff with homemade stands when I was a kid. Lucky to still be here.

23-Nov-21
This is a great topic. I've become less agile with age and now choose to hunt strictly from the ground for that reason. ~Cheryl

From: TD
23-Nov-21
Assuming you are running some kind of safety line.... a linesman rope with a ropeman is always handy and multi purpose. While hanging you can configure a real simple ascender with a foot loop and caribiner in conjunction with your harness prusik. These days also always have a small amsteel loop to use as either a prusik or autoblock and an extra caribiner in a pouch or pocket. If nothing else you can relieve the pressure on the harness prusik and inchworm your way either up or down.

Like Apauls.... I'm in a saddle. And these days rappelling down "dangling" anyway. =D But I've practiced a bunch in case of "what ifs" using the linesman w/ropeman and combined with either a prusik or with a Madrock it's a pretty efficient system up or down. Lots of you tubes on it.

And as stated above by a couple of folks, any harness I'd consider using would have some kind of separate tie in available, preferably linesman loops or rock climbers loop, even just a very sturdy belt.

23-Nov-21
I always have 8 screw steps in my pack. It's awkward, but I can do it. Wouldn't recommend it for older or obese hunters.

From: Cornpone
25-Nov-21
Didn't read all the replies so someone may have already mentioned it. Treestand Wingman.

26-Nov-21
I skimmed through the posts......maybe this was already shared?

https://treestandwingman.com/

From: bchunter2
27-Nov-21

From: bchunter2
27-Nov-21
Very easy I always carry a Carabiner and extra rope for multi reasons . I always have a safety rope attached when going up or down. If stand breaks away and I am hanging, I pulled out the Carabiner out of my pocket grab safety line { Do a Munter Hitch which takes 2 sec cut my tag line which holds me and decend down at whatever speed you wish its fast and safe. look it up [ MUNTER HITCH]

From: Badger_16
28-Nov-21
I set my tether high in the tree so there is almost no slack when I sit down. Another thing I do is attach the tether to the tree so it is positioned over my climbing sticks, my thought being the only direction I can fall is over my steps which I could than use my steps to get back into my stand.

From: elkster
30-Nov-21
This is why I started using a saddle.

From: Vonfoust
30-Nov-21
Mostly pre-set lock ons here with full climbing sticks. Rock climbing harness and lifeline. If I fall I'm going to end up against the climbing stick, facing it. At worst the prussic knot will be too tight to slide anymore and I'll have to cut it.

From: Live2Hunt
30-Nov-21
Rock climbing harness. No issues with blood circulation, hang towards the tree, call someone, or use the rope and tree clinging to get down.

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