The use of a Lifeline can be the single greatest tool to keep a treestand hunter safe at all times while above ground level. Yes, the harness is a must-have item, and it took many years of preaching the need for using it to help save the lives of countless hunters across the country. The fact is a harness will only save you if you’re properly anchored. To make matters worse, statistics show that most accidents occur when climbing in and out of the treestand. That’s why the Lifeline is so important. The Lifeline allows you to stay safely connected from the first step off the ground, throughout your hunt, and your descent back to ground level. Every treestand you hunt should include a Lifeline to protect you and the ones you love from serious injury or death.
With hunting seasons in full swing across the country, here are a few Lifeline tips and tricks to maximize safety while you’re in the deer woods this season.
Watch for Wasp Nests in the Cowbell
Depending on how long your Lifeline has been installed through the warmer months, it may be subject to playing host to wasps. More than once, I’ve found wasp nests in and around my treestands. Earlier this year, I found an active nest in the HSS Lifeline Cowbell that covers my climbing carabiner. It made for a pretty rowdy couple minutes as my boys and I did our best to dodge wasps while removing the nest so we could continue our treestand work. Be sure to make a quick check before you dive in and connect yourself to a situation that’ll sting you!
Hang Your Lifeline Before Climbing the Tree
This is particularly important when hunting from a ladder stand or other method where you would not be employing a lineman’s belt. Most hunters just assume you’re going to have to make the initial climb without any fall protection. However, there is a better way. It takes a couple buddies working together, but you can harness the tree with your Lifeline and then raise it into place without ever leaving the ground. You’ll need a pole saw, or other telescoping pole with a hook or attachment on the end for pushing the Lifeline up the trunk of the tree.
See how it’s done in the video below…
Stay Connected as You Work Around Tree Limbs or Shooting Rails
Many hunters make the mistake of disconnecting from the Lifeline as they work around tree limbs, or through the shooting rail on their treestand. It’s a quick move that we rarely give much thought. However, it only takes one moment or misstep to fall to the ground. These brief moments of being disconnected can cost you. The proper way to stay connected at all time is to use a rope tether and carabiner that’ll allow you to double connect to the Lifeline prior to detaching your harness from the Lifeline as you work around obstacles. Yes, it’s an extra step that’ll take a little extra time, but it provides peace of mind knowing that you’re protected at all times.
Avoid Holding/Sliding the Prusik Knot with Your Whole Hand
Learn to slide the Prusik knot with minimal hand contact. This is easily accomplished with just two fingers, regardless of whether you’re going up or down the tree. Why is this important? In the event you should slip or fall, your natural instinct will be to grab, squeeze and pull anything you can get your hands on as you fight to prevent the fall. If the Prusik knot is what you cling to, you will essentially be allowing it to slide down the rope instead of it doing its job to prevent your fall. Learn the proper method to avoid this risk. It’s a simple technique that’s easily accomplished with your index finger and thumb.
Anchor Your Lifeline Above Your Head
I like to anchor my Lifeline as high as I possibly can while still maintaining enough slack to allow me to sit down in my stand. That’s all I really want. Some guys will anchor-in below their seat, or closer to their platform. The problem with this is that it allows you to fall below your treestand platform should an accident occur. I never want to find myself dangling below the stand platform. A high anchor ensures you stay on top of things no matter what. It’s much easier to scramble back to your stand when doing so from a higher elevation.
Tie Off Lifeline at Base of Stand or Tree
Don’t forget to tie off the tail end of your Lifeline at the base of your tree or bottom step of your ladder. This allows for one-hand use of the Prusik knot as you work your way up and down the tree. If you fail to tie off the end, it’ll take two hands to make this happen. One hand holding the rope, while the other hand slides the knot.
Be sure to keep the items mentioned above in mind this season as you climb back into the treestand. They’ll keep you safe, allowing you to hunt with more confidence and comfort, every time you climb into the tree this season. Have fun, be safe, shoot straight.