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Back in the spring, myself and a couple other guys I hunt with hung this stand. After some heavy winds in the last couple of weeks, it toppled over. Just goes to show that you need to assess the base and look for injuries to such areas. Apparently it was rotting from the inside out, around the base. Glad nobody was hunting it when it fell.
Going forward, I’ll definitely check for those signs, and especially around the base. Again, this tree looked very strong and hardy. Who knew.
Damn, that would have been an eye opening ride ! Glad nobody was hurt !
I think that is the strongest possible case for selecting your stand locations preseason… I recall selecting an alternate site one year to get closer to where I had seen a pair of 2 1/2 or 3 1/2 year-old bucks keeping company, and when a hawk landed in the tree, it felt like a freaking earthquake. I guess that tree was not as stout as it looked… And you can bet your butt I climbed down out of there very carefully and haven’t been back!
I don’t think that tree looks healthy enough for me to have been willing to take a chance on it in the first place, but one thing for certain… If it’s windy enough that you’re really feeling the tree moving with you in it… It’s time to not be in it!
By the looks of the size of that tree even if you inspected it you would have still thought it was thick enough to hold you no problem. That is why I don’t sit in stands in heavy wind.
I found my stand like that early one morning. I had just hunted it the weekend before. Was sure glad it didn't happen while I was in it. I've become pickier about tree selection since then.
YIKES! Good thing you weren't in it! Can you imagine what the dry cleaning bill would have been??!!
Seriously, one time I was stillhunting a woods on a VERY windy day. I'd stop and scan for 5 to 15 minutes, and then slowly advance a few steps and do the same. After about 45 minutes, I heard a huge crash behind me, and a large tree that I had stopped under about 20 minutes before came RIGHT down across the trail I'd been on! I got out of that woods ASAP!!!
You must be livin right, Rick!
Looks like an ash tree. Not sure if the Emerald ash borer has hit down there yet, or not. It is devastating our ash trees here. Dead or dying ash trees seem to become very brittle and snap more readily. I’m beginning to pay more attention to the trees surrounding my stand tree, for potential widow maker branches or other possible dangers.
Agree with the Ash tree, there very dangerous when dead, just unpredictable. Need to check trees when the leaves are on, and I know that's not always possible.
Back when the gypsy moths were killing the oak's I had a very close call. Calm day and I'm in a live tree when a big oak started trembling and fell into my tree. I got the climber around to the back side and road it out, but still got cuts and bruises.
Just carry a baseball bat on your scouting trips. One good whack will tell you all you need to know!
Glad no one was in it is right! I had a stupid set one evening a couple weeks ago. Hunting an oak ridge, and using my saddle/sticks/platform set up. I check the wind from my house, drive my cart over to the property, and double check wind there to decide where I park. Then check it again when I get up to the flat before picking a tree. That night, I spied a group of 3 ash trees that would give me a pocket at my 25’ height. Get everything set up and go to set my ring of steps by stepping down on them and really felt the tree move way more than it should have with that small side step. They all were 26-28” diameter trees, but with that first move- I decide to look up at the tops…. All three were dead, minimal branches left at the tops. Idiot move I was thinking. It was a dead wind evening and of course I decided they were good enough to sit for the one night. All went fine, but it stuck in my head and will forever- check the damn tree out well before climbing it!
It’s a green ash but doesn’t appear to be ash borer problems rather trunk rotting issues
I agree, Andy. The stand was put up in the spring and it looked plenty healthy, with green limbs and it was hardy. There was that portion you see that was flat down by the base (minus bark). All in all it looked solid with no signs of outside rot. I was surprised to see the tree toppled over.
Eastern deciduous trees all look the same to me. I never see them with their leaves on. I wish I knew them better.
Good idea re: the baseball bat. Unfortunately, that doesn't work for travelers.
I killed a buck out of a tree in 2019ish in Iowa and went back to the same place with my dad the following year and was going to put him in the same tree and noticed the bark falling off as I put the climber on it. That could have been bad. In the West, dead trees look more dead than they do in the East.
Rick, were you able to salvage that stand?
Ike… I was able to salvage the stand. Think I’ll put a paint job on it before the next set. ;)
Ash trees are weak, but we have a lot in one area I hunt, so I've had a few stands in them. That tree was diseased or suffered some sort of injury in the earlier years. I've got one oak tree in my yard that was like that early in life, but the new growth has now entirely encompassed the damaged area. It's obviously still there but the only evidence is a vertical line where the new growth meets. Like another poster above, I doubt you would have decided against putting a stand there based on the evidence, but you might now. Odds are high you wouldn't have stayed in the stand for the wind that took it down. Stay safe out there.
Had the same thing happen to me quite a few years ago with a big oak tree in a fence line. I was young and dumb though. The tree had numerous dead branches but it was a huge tree. I didn’t think it was any big deal. Until I showed up one evening to hunt and it was down in the field just like yours.
Embry -had the same thing happen earlier in the fall to a 2 man ladder stand I had out. More damage to mine than yours.
A few years ago, same, same with me... Was actually in mine a couple months before it blew over and had been in it a couple times on windy days and had noticed it swayed a lot in the wind, but hadn't realized until after it had blown over that it to was rotted at the base...
My base... Didn't look dead and had leaves on it right up until fall...
sometimes it's hard to tell.
Good thread,the plot always thickens when it's in a super great location and the "perfect" spot.I've climb a bunch with my fingers crossed,which was stupid all the while thinking should I wear or not wear my safety harness.Akin to some of the goat and sheep hunters who traverse ledges in pursuit.I good reminder that some things aren't worth it.
I've had several ash trees removed from my back yard due to the bugs. Got a couple -three more that might be coming out in the spring. Last year I had a big one that had a crack in it around the circumference where the bark was missing. I didn't see it until I looked close. I've played that game before and any tree that looks hollow on the inside or has porkies living in it is a no-go for a tree stand. The other clue about the health of the prospective tree is what do the nearby trees look like. If a bunch are blown over or suspect....choose wisely.
Yup. Good post. I been there too. Not a good feeling
Glad I wasn’t climbing when this baby came down.
Had one of those butt pucker moments in IA back in 2010. I was hunting a public piece in Zone 5. Found a spot before light and the only good straight tree was a shagbark hickory. I know, poor choice, but I chose it anyways. Climbed up, set up and settled in for the morning. At first light I looked up and noticed the tree didn't have a top. Totally a dead tree I was set up in. Glad it wasn't windy that day. And I did shoot a doe out of it that morning. But I was very uncomfortable in it for sure.
A tree trimmer told me if mushrooms are growing on a tree it's usually rotting inside.
I was bowhunting early in the season in Delaware. A thunder storm came up and I headed to the truck. The next day I climbed my stand and when it got light I noticed bark was blown out of the tree I was in from the top of the stand to the bottom of the tree. It had been struck by lightening. I also had a brand new, really expensive, ground blind smashed to the ground by a falling tree. Now I always really inspect nearby trees before setting up a ground blind.
I once had a huge dead limb fall from above me while on stand. Luckily, I heard the thing let loose and I hugged the tree and made myself as small as possible. The 3" or 4" limb missed me, but the lesson wasn't missed. Now I check for dead limbs before selecting a tree for a stand location. This fall a dead tree fell centered over my double bull blind. Luckily it hung up on an adjacent tree or the unoccupied blind would have been history.