My use of homemade treestands came from my desire to get above the brush and see more territory.
Initially we hunted from the ground exclusively and ground hunting has many advantages. You can't fall off of the ground when you go to sleep, it doesn't sway when the wind blows and you can find it anywhere. The downside of course was that you can not see as well and you are much easier for a deer to spot since you are right on their level.
The next step, of course, was to build wooden stands in trees. These stands allowed you to see well and put you above the deer, but they also had their drawbacks. Originally we built five stands. We saw deer from two of these stands and one actually produced a few deer. The remaining stands were used little and of course they are not portable. The last wooden stand that I built incorporated all of the knowledge that I had gained from the previous adventures. Even though this stand was in a good place and was instrumental in my first bow kill, this stand deteriorated and fell out of the tree rather quickly.
Due to these failures in stand placement and the deterioration of these homemade treestands, I have been hunting from manufactured treestands. For the last fifteen years I have hunted from manufactured ladder stands and fixed position treestands.
Recently, studies/surveys that I've read have revealed that homemade wooden treestands are more dangerous than the manufactured stands. Even though I have never had an accident involving a treestand I can see that homemade stands and wooden steps nailed into trees are more dangerous especially due to the need for constant maintenance. As the trees sway throughout the year and the wood deteriorates, homemade treestands become very dangerous.
I would not even trust homemade treestands made of metal. Manufacturers put there stands through many tests to make sure that they are safe for you. It is in yours and their best interest.
The following information is from a study that five Marshall University surgeons conducted in the state of West Virginia as reported in the Charleston Daily Mail.
Over a seven year period, 84 hunters suffered injuries that forced them to seek medical treatment.
Seven of these hunters were fatally injured.
Two out of every three of these accidents involved homemade treestands.
Only 15 percent of the injured hunters were wearing safety harnesses.
The average age of the injured hunters was 40.
According to the International Hunter Education Association, during one year, 269 treestand accidents occurred in the United States and Canada. 29 of these accidents resulted in death. It was also reported that one in every three hunters will have an accident.
It is likely that there are many more accidents that occur but are not reported because the injuries are not severe.
It is my recommendation that you use a manufactured treestand and a safety belt. Nearly all new treestands now come with a safety belt included.
My favorite stands are the aluminum Gorilla Silverback Magnum treestands. These stands have a roomy 24 x 30 inch platform and the aluminum construction makes them nice and light. Although these stands are large, they are easy to put up due to their light weight and cinch strap. These stands are the first that I reach for and are the ones that I put in my favorite spots.
I always use a safety strap when I'm in one of my stands.
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