Winter’s cold dark grasp on us is beginning to ease up, and we’re all starting to get excited about the summer heat, longer days, and visiting our favorite spot in the woods. This is the time of year when we check our gear, take inventory, and get our ducks in a row, so to speak.
Before spring is in full swing, we typically start by visiting our favorite tree stand locations, clearing vegetation, and do some much-needed maintenance before it gets overly thick. It’s funny how our shooting lanes and site lines change as the vegetation fills in. We’ve found that a little maintenance and trimming now, goes a long way later. It also allows for some regrowth of natural camo before the season starts. Bring a friend, a limb saw a lineman’s belt, a safety harness, and use the buddy system. We typically inspect all of the cables, bolts, and straps on our stands in advance, along with the climbing sticks. If we see something, it gives us a chance to make changes, do repairs, and plan prior to the excitement of the season itself. We mentioned bringing a buddy. This serves two purposes. First, you’ll be more efficient when lifting, hanging and changing out the stand itself. Second, is your improved ability to review your site lines, shooting lanes, and yardage measurements while they walk. Using a friend to hang a stand makes all the difference. It helps to have another set of hands to work the stand into place from the ground via rope. We start by hooking up to the tree with a lineman’s belt and safety harness, placing the stick on the tree, and working our way up. Once up top, we usually loop a rope over a large limb or the top step. Next, we have our buddy tie the rope to the stand on the ground and send the other end of the rope back down to our ground man. He helps lift it and hold it in place until we can secure it to the tree. Once secured, we add a lifeline, get into the stand, and make sure everything is solid, stable and in place. It’s amazing how much you and a friend can accomplish in a day when you both work together.
Before heading out for our early season day of maintenance, we typically pre-treat all of our gear with Permatone to keep the ticks and bugs at bay. But the truth is, we use this early season maintenance as an excuse to hike, set up trail cams, familiarize ourselves with the surroundings, and wear our favorite gear. It’s the reason we do this stuff…time with friends, being outside, and feeding the excitement of the upcoming hunt. Be safe, use the correct safety equipment, and of course, your favorite Nat Gear.