Hunter Safety System, Inc. was born out of a love for hunting and a desire to keep all tree stand hunters safe. Even so, it took a near-death experience to provide the impetus for the creation of the Hunter Safety System harness.
In the fall of 2000, John and Jerry Wydner were hunting white-tail deer along with their nephew Jerrod Karr in Eufaula, AL, when John's tree stand collapsed beneath him. Because he wasn’t wearing the harness that was provided with his tree stand, he was headed straight to the ground. However, by the grace of God, he was able to catch hold of the top of the climber and shimmy down the tree. By the time he reached the ground, his clothing was torn, and he was bleeding and shaken. He immediately called for help. As soon as Jerry arrived, his first question was why John wasn't wearing his harness to which John replied, "Were you wearing yours?"
That's when they realized the problem all hunters had with the available harnesses was that they were a tangled mass of webbing that most hunters were not inclined to deal with when trying to reach their favorite hunting spots before daylight. That evening produced a think tank of ideas from the hunters on how to develop a harness that would be fast and simple to put on when time was of the essence. They decided it would be perfect if they could only build a harness inside a vest which would be very easy to get into and out of. However, the real problem would be making it adjustable to fit different body sizes. The answer was not to be found that evening or the next day or the next...
After returning home, John couldn't get the idea out of his mind. He admits he has never been so driven to solve a problem before or since and believes God was pushing him to design a product that was destined to save many lives. However, the journey was anything but easy. When John finally came up with an idea that he thought might work, he asked his sister-in-law Mary Alice Cagle to build a prototype for him. This proved to be a very daunting task, but after much deliberation and perseverance, Mary Alice finally delivered the prototype. It looked great!
John was excited and ready to take it to market when Mary Alice informed him that she would never build another one as it was far too labor intensive. John was naturally disappointed, but still he couldn't rest until he reached his goal. He found a nearby sewing factory (ET's in Trinity, AL, owned and operated by Bill & Elise Thornton) and commissioned them to produce an adjustable harness inside a vest using his prototype as a sample.
John Pierce, their Manufacturing Engineer, first said it couldn't be built affordably, but after much trial and error working together with John Wydner, the duo discovered a way to make the harness both adjustable and affordable. When Elise finally incorporated all of the new ideas into the initial harness, Hunter Safety System, Inc. was on its way, and a new era began in hunter safety harnesses. John & Jerry recognize that if not for the efforts of these key players, there would be no Hunter Safety System harness, and many more hunters' lives may have been lost to falls while hunting from a tree.
Hunter Safety System, Inc. is now in its 14th year (2015), and John and Jerry are very humbled by the multitude of testimonials they have received from hunters who have been saved by the Hunter Safety System harness. First of all, they acknowledge and thank God for His providence in the success of their company. They also thank Mary Alice Cagle, John Pierce, Bill and Elise Thornton for their contributions to the company. Finally, they offer many thanks to their wonderful customers whose safety they are committed to and whose loyalty they are blessed to enjoy. Wishing many safe and successful hunts to all tree stand hunters; please continue to practice safe hunting to insure that you return home to hunt yet another day.