Every year about this time I curse myself for not hanging more treestands during the spring. It seems like I always start out with good intentions, but once the weather breaks my mind wanders to other things and before you know it August is staring you in the face. So despite the heat and the bugs it's time to hang a few treestands before fall comes. So I grab my stand-hanging pack, some bug spray, a couple Lone Wolf stands and off I go.
Inside my stand-hanging pack there's a variety of tools and supplies that are essential to hanging stands quickly, effectively and most important safely. In no order of imporance here are the items I carry with me while hanging and trimming treestand locations.
- Lineman's Belt
- Hand Saw
- Extentible Pole Saw
- Hand Pruners
- Screw-in tree steps
- Gear hooks
- Realtree E-Z Hangers
- Bright Eyes reflective tacks
- Bow ropes/Hoists
- Treestand lock
- Bug Spray
All of this gear has it's specific purpose that allows me to hang and trim my treestand locations more quickly and safely than ever before.
Let's start with the lineman's belt. This is probably the most important piece of gear to have as it not only makes hanging stands a LOT easier, it makes it a lot safer as well. I personally use the Treehopper belt, which I have retrofitted with a Lone Wolf linesman's belt. I prefer not to wear my full body harness that I wear while hunting primarily because I don't want to get it smelly with bug spray and sweat. The Treehopper is extremely easy to use and allows me to hang stands and sticks while having both hands free. If you're hanging stands without some kind of lineman's belt do yourself, and your family, a favor and get one before you hang another stand. Even if you don't ever slip, you'll thank me after seeing how much easier it is to hang a stand when you have both hands free.
After you get your stands up in the tree it's time to trim some shooting lanes. There's three tools I use for this - the hand saw, pole saw and hand pruners. With these three items you should be able to trim just about any shooting lane you could need. Since these tools are used quite a bit, and used hard, I make sure to use the best ones I can find. I've found the best combination to be the Wicked Tree Gear hand saw, Treehopper "Lane Maker" ratcheting pruners, and Hooyman 10 foot extentible pole saw.
The Wicked Tree Gear hand saw is a brand new product for this year, and so far it's performed extremely well. What sets this particular saw apart is the all-metal construction and extremely durable blade. There isn't a single plastic part on this saw which means it's extremely durable and won't break on you. The blade is sharp and tough, which means I can not only saw through large limbs but use it for the old "grip and rip", slashing down small twigs, vines, weeds, etc. This is a great product and if you're sick and tired of buying a new hand saw (or two) every year, I suggest you get a Wicked.
The Wicked Tree saw features a cast-aluminum handle and hardened steel hardware, which makes it extremely durable and a great option for hunters who are hard on their gear.
Hand pruners are another item I use a ton. After breaking several pairs of cheap plastic-handle pruners, and not being able to cut through large limbs with standard pruners, I discovered the Lane Maker from Treehopper. Like the Wicked hand saw, the Lane Maker is 100% metal which makes it extremely durable. Mine has made it through two hunting seasons along with constant use around my yard during the off-season, and it's still going strong. The ratching action allows you to cut through limbs up to 1" in diamater, which is very nice.
The ratcheting action of the Lane Maker pruners makes them great for cutting through larger limbs.
Anyone who has read my Blogs over the past several seasons knows how much I like my Hooyman Extendible Saw. The 10 foot version is perfect for reaching some of those out-of-range limbs, and it's packability is great for both pre-season and in-season lane trimming. It's not the greatest pole saw in the world as far as the durability of the blade goes, but the packability and versatility makes this saw certainly worth the purchase.
Here Bowhunting.com Pro Staff Blogger Scott Abbott uses his 10 foot Hooyman saw to trim shooting lanes during the summer.
With the stand hung and lanes trimmed before I leave I always make sure that it's properly "accessorized". That includes hanging a bow rope, screwing in several small gear hooks to hang my pack, rattling antlers, quiver, etc and a bow hanger. I personally like the Realtree E-Z Hanger, which seems to be a pretty popular choice with quite a few hunters. Unfortuatnely with some of the less-than-honest folks roaming the woods these days, I also lock my stands to the tree before leaving as well. Although it won't completely prevent stand theft, it will hopefully deter it.
On my way out of the woods I like to mark my stands with a few Bright Eyes reflective tacks. This allows me to better find the stand again when it's dark. This is very helpful those first few hunts of the year when you've haven't been to that stand in a couple of months. After all, nobody likes wandering around the woods in the dark, looking for their stand on opening day!
A couple other items I carry with me at all times are spare tree straps and a couple of screw-in tree steps. You never know when you'll need an extra strap or two to help get your sticks or stand around larger trees, or when you'll need that one extra step to get your stand in just the right spot.
So as you head out this summer to prepare your stand for fall, make sure you bring everything you'll need to get the job done right the first time. Making sure your stands are 100% ready to go before the season starts can not only increase your chances of success but make your hunt a lot more enjoyable as well.