Sunday, November 4, 2012

When Only One Treestand Will Do

© By Othmar Vohringer
Before I followed my heart and moved to British Columbia, I owned many different treestands. At last count I had 24 hang-on models, 2 climbing stands and 3 ladder stands. By the time hunting season rolled around I had most of the stands in place and ready to hunt, keeping the two climbers as “run-and-gun” stands. Over the years I got a lot of practice setting up stands and with that became quite fast (and safe) at it too. It seldom took me more than ten minutes to set up an average hang-on-stand.

By now you may ask; “Why own and use so many stands?” The answer to that is quite simple really. I scout for the perfect location to ambush a deer with bow or rifle and not the perfect tree for my stand. The perfect ambush location may not always mean that there is a perfect tree to hang the stand too. To accommodate whatever shape and form a given tree was I had a treestand for it to fit. However, when I moved to Canada the expense to ship all the stands seemed nothing short of ridiculous. There would have been also additional fees, quite a hefty ones too, for "bulkiness" and "import" fees. I decided to leave all my stands with a good friend of mine back in Illinois.

Although not many hunters here in British Columbia hunt from stands I was not about to give up on a hunting method that served me well for so many years. However, I was not about to spend a small fortune on a selection of treestands either. One stand would have to do for any situation. But which one of the three basic stand models should I choose? Where I hunt there are many different trees, such as aspens, popular and pine trees. In addition, in the river bottoms, which I hunt most often, many trees are grown uneven or bent and have low growing branches. This makes it difficult to use a climbing stand as my run and gun stand. Ladder stands are too heavy and take too much time to set up, and quite often it needs two people to do the job. Don't get wrong. Ladder stands are great but they are not what I call "portable".

After weighing all the options against each other I decided that the one stand to serve all my hunting needs would be a hang-on model. These stands can fit almost in any tree, are easy to transport, quick and quiet to set up. I purchased a hang-on treestand a few years ago and after getting used to the idea of just using one stand I’ve to say, I love it.

One of the reasons why I owned so many treestands was so be mobile. It gave me the opportunity to move quickly from one stand to the next whenever the deer movement pattern changes required it. I found out that one stand can provide me with this maximum on mobility too. I can adjust my current setup to nearly any situation at any time. Even during the middle of a hunt, should that become necessary.

The trick in getting the ultimate mobile stand set up is in organizing a system. In my case it meant finding a system to pack my stand and climbing sticks in such a way that they are A. easy to transport and keep my hands free. B. Quick and quiet to set up. This takes a little planning and yes, practicing a workflow too. The way I’ve organized my system I am able to set up in such a way that ones the climbing stick is installed I’ve never to return to Terra-firma again and can start hunting the moment I pulled the bow or rifle up to the stand. Should I have to climb up and down until everything is in place and ready for action It would involve to much noise and to much time. The best time to kill a deer is the very first time you hunt a stand. And the best ambush for deer is a surprise. That surprise is impossible to achieve when the deer can hear you clambering up and down a tree and making another bunch of noises during the set up of your stand.

Here is how it works.

The climbing stick sections are strapped to the stand and it is the first piece of equipment I assemble and attach securely to the tree. When I attach the climbing stick to the tree I already have a line attached to the stand and a different line to my other equipment. These two lines are in turn attached to the safety harness. Ones the climbing stick is up and I fastened the uppermost strap I am ready to pull the stand up to me and install it on the tree. With that done I step onto the stand pull my hunting equipment up, attached to the other line, and presto I am ready to hunt in less than ten minutes.

It helps enormously to use a lineman type harness to install treestands because it enables me to have both hands free, rather than holding on to the tree with one hand and use the other to install the climbing stick and stand. This makes working very cumbersome and dangerous to boot. Always think safety when working with treestands. Unfortunately, accidents involving treestnads are the most common hunting accidents and could all be avoided by using commonsense and a bit of planning. 
As I said above I love that “one stand will do” approach, and once you get the hang of it you will be amazed how fast, without breaking into a sweat, a stand can be set up and ready to hunt. The only thing I would do different now is spending a little bit more money and purchase a lighter stand, Such as a Lone Wolf Treestand.

Currently I use an Ameristep Grizzly Pro-Staff and while I like the roomy platform and comfortable seat, the all steel construction is with 15 pounds weight plus the 9 pounds of the climbing stick, a bit on the heavy side to carry on your back for any extended period of time. But the point I am trying to make here is this. To be mobile you do not necessary need to own a battery of stands. One stand will do quite nicely. Just don’t be shy about moving it around to where the deer action is.


Read related articles:
Treestand Hunting Essentials
Choosing The Right Treestand For The Perfect Ambush

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