Tips & Tactics

Wooden Stands . . . Just Don’t

Wooden Stands . . . Just Don’t

By Ray Thiel

Photo: With so many safe and affordable modern stands on the market, avoiding homemade stands is sound advice.

Recently, I read Gary LaLone’s Buckmasters Tip of the Week, which recommended using play sand to increase traction on slippery treestands, especially those constructed of wood.

He describes a scary incident in which he nearly lost his footing in the darkness due to moss or algae growing on the floor of his homemade wooden stand.

While the traction tip was a good idea, the main problem I have is using stands made from wood. In many cases, they are just accidents waiting to happen.

When I was a young hunter and thought I was indestructible, I climbed into many shaky old wooden stands, even some I’d found on public land. It’s a wonder I didn’t fall!

Wooden Stands . . . Just Don’tNow that I’m older and wiser, I realize trees grow each year, as well as move —sometimes a lot — anytime it storms. This means the nails, bolts and screws loosen and rust. The bracing, ladder steps and flooring will become rickety, too, and the boards begin to rot over time.

Because of the impermanent nature of these wood constructions, eventually someone is going to risk falling, even if it isn’t slippery.

I’ve been a hunter safety instructor for 25 years, and I advise students not to use homemade stands of any kind, with wood stands being the most dangerous.

I highly recommend hunters buy commercial stands bearing the Treestand Manufacturer's Association (TMA) label; otherwise they are risking a potentially serious accident.

Also, there are many instances where hunters can, and should, use a Hunter Safety System Lifeline and safety harness even when hunting from wooden stands, including homemade ladder stands.

So why risk a wood stand? With so many well-crafted, affordable commercial stands on the market these days, there really isn’t a reason to make your own out of scraps anymore.

My advice about do-it-yourself stands? Just don’t.

–Editor’s Note by Tim H. Martin

Ray Thiel’s tip makes a lot of sense. Here are links to Buckmasters’ favorite sources for treestands and lifelines:

Millennium Treestands

Hunter Safety System

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