Deer stand shortcut spells trouble

November 5, 2013

Faith Outdoors

There I was, in the dark and getting ready to hunt last Friday morning. I had climbed into one of my ladder stands and was getting my bow and other gear ready. I dropped my bow hanger to the ground and tried to climb down quickly to retrieve it.

Then, trouble hit, in a big way. I felt a wobble as I started going down the steps, then a jolt as one ladder section gave way. One side of the section had popped loose, and I figured a fall was coming.

Fortunately, the other side of the section held together, and I was able to finish the climb down. What a relief!

The failure, however, was not due to a faulty stand, but rather a faulty installer. I decided not to use the safety pins that come with the stand to keep just this sort of thing from happening. A friend who helped me put it up said they are not necessary, as the weight of the hunter will push the sections tightly together.

He was wrong, and I relayed the story to him. Later that morning, I bought bolts at Fleet Farm and reinforced the stand. It is now rock solid, and I am ready to hunt the rut, which is later this year but should kick in with the cold weather that is coming in.

Interestingly, after the stand collapsed, I hustled about 150 yards to another one and climbed in for a two-hour hunt. A small buck came in to about 15 yards and was standing broadside at about 15 yards. I drew back and tried to put my 20-yard pin on the buck, but my glasses were slightly fogged and I couldn’t find the deer. A second or two later, he walked through the shooting lane and never presented another shot opportunity.

Oh well, that’s how it goes. I’m just glad I was able to discover the danger of my stand now – and didn’t get hurt! I then went down to Red Wing the next day to put bolts into another stand we put up, one that my son, Andy, will hunt in on the opening day of the 3A firearms season, which opens this Saturday.

The lesson in all of this is simple, and I pass it along to all deer hunters who will go out into the woods on Saturday – DO NOT TAKE ANY SHORTCUTS when it comes to putting up your stands. Assemble them properly and utilize all safety features, including body harness.

May all deer hunters have a safe and fun hunt this season!

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About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

View all posts by Dave Hrbacek