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Essential Tools For Hanging Treestands

by Justin Zarr 24. July 2011 16:23
Justin Zarr

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 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.

Summertime Prep; Scouting Velvet Bucks & Hanging Treestands

by Justin Zarr 22. July 2010 14:31
Justin Zarr

The end of July is getting close which means a couple things for us bowhunters.  First and foremost, archery seasons are just around the corner.  We're now less than two months to the start of Wisconsin bow season, and less than 3 months until Illinois opens.  Anyone who hasn't already hung their treestands or started shooting their bow on a regular basis needs to get their butt in gear!  These lazy days of summer also means a great opportunity to glass soybean fields for velvet bucks.  Although you can't shoot them yet, they're still pretty fun to look at!

This past weekend I took a trip with my good friend Mike Willand to a new lease he has in Northwestern Illinois.  Mike takes his scouting extremely seriously and spent countless hours walking this farm during the spring looking for not just shed antlers, but analyzing the available deer sign and formulating a plan for this fall.  As all successful hunters know, the more work you put in now the more successful you'll be later and if that holds true, Mike just may come home with a truck full of bone come October.

During this July scouting trip we had two primary goals.  Number one was to hang another treestand specifically for morning hunts.  The way this particular farm is laid out, only about 1/2 of it can be hunted in the mornings without cutting across the primary food source and bumping any deer that may be in it.  So having plenty of options for wind directions is a must.  With a little help from his Treehopper belt, Mike was able to safely hang his treestand in no time and we were off. 

The second goal of the night was to try and spot some whitetails in velvet and see what kind of headgear they're sporting.  So after sweating our butts off hanging the treestand Mike and I split up for the evening's scouting mission.  Unfortunately my mission was an utter failure.  I saw a doe and fawn in the field on my way out and that was it for the rest of the night.  Zip.  Zero.  Zilch.  Nada!  I did however get in a few good games of Blackjack on my phone.  While I was keeping myself occupied with that Mike did manage to see a couple deer, including one decent buck he has nicknamed "Little Rob".  Unfortunately a gang of coyotes came onto the field about 30 minutes before dark and cut our scouting mission short.

Check out the video below for a full recap of our stand hanging/velvet scouting adventure.

The view from my luxury box back in the weeds with the flies, ticks, snakes and blackbirds.

Supplies for the evening: Camera bag, cell phone, gloves, water, Gatorade, and a granola bar.

Nope, no deer here!

2010 Get Together a Huge Success!

by Justin Zarr 28. June 2010 14:59
Justin Zarr

First and foremost I want to give a big THANK YOU to all of the people who came out to the Get Together this past Saturday.  For the 2nd year in a row this event was held at the Coon Creek Hunt Club in Garden Prairie, Illinois and the weather was nearly perfect.  Although a few people left with some sunburns, everyone left with a smile on their face and memories to last a long, long time.

The day started off with a group sign-up and then picking of teams for the 3 shooting events.  After teams were drawn and the rules were explained teams broke up and headed into the field for some friendly competition.

The gang signing up and getting ready to shoot.

Our main event, the 3-D Smackdown, was won by possibly the youngest attendee of the shoot.  Young Isaac Siman from Ohio walked away with the coveted first place trophy after scoring a 149 out of 160 possible points.  A big congrats to the fine young archer who also walked away with the high score on the pop-up 3D tournament.  Nice shooting Isaac!

Congrats to the winners!

Isaac and I shooting the pop-up 3d course.  I must admit, it's a lot harder than it looks.  Especially with a bunch of people standing around watching.

The long distance event was one by our good friend Cody from Treehopper after he beat out last year's winner, staff member Dustin Decroo.  Cody went home with a brand new Rinehart Rhinoblock target for his well-placed shots at 70 yards.

How far is that again?

This year's sporting clays shoot winner was none other than yours truly.  After only shooting my new bow for a few weeks I wasn't expecting to place very well in any of the shoots, but I must admit the new Elite Judge shoots awafully well and certainly helped in my victory.  I was joined in the final round of shooting by none other than Isaac Siman, who seemed to be in just about every championship round on Saturday, and Dean Elbe from Treehopper.  Although they both shot well, I was just barely able to pull off the win.  The real test comes next year when we see if I can hold on to the crown!

Yours truly shooting in the finals of the Sporting Clays competition.

Possibly the most exciting event of the day was shooting at "Fergie" the Bionic Buck.  Our good buddy Mr. Bloodcrik from Indiana was kind enough to make us our very own metal target, and he claimed more than a few arrows on this fateful day.  Despite costing us a few arrows, we all had a blast taking shots from 40 yards and beyond.  By the way, if any of you need new arrows you can get them here!

Fergie the Bionic buck certainly can do some damage!  Video to come shortly.

Another thank you goes out to Jason McKee from New Archery Products and Dean Elbe from Treehopper.  Both of these guys drove several hours to be at our event and let the faithful know about the great products they have to offer.  Anyone looking to pick up a Treehopper belt before this fall can click here, and anyone looking for some NAP products can click here for broadheads, here for rests, and here for those amazing Quikfletch!

Finally, a big congratulations goes out to Kevin Lane, winner of a brand new Diamond Iceman FLX bow.  Kevin won the $20 bow raffe and went home with a brand new bow for his troubles.  Can't really beat that.

All in all this was another great event that drew over 50 serious bowhunters who were able to enjoy a day in the sun, some friendly competition, and go home with some cool new bowhunting gear.  Plans have already started for next June so keep your calendars open, you won't want to miss this!  Remember, eveyone is invited to this shoot regardless of age, skill, type of bow, or where you live.  It's all about having fun!

I leave you all with this fine photo of Diamond Don, doing what he does best - not killing any deer!  (Sorry buddy, I couldn't resist).

Review: Lane Maker Ratcheting Pruners

by Administrator 23. December 2008 06:13

The right equipment while bowhunting can make even a bad day in the woods less frustrating. A solid and safe treestand, a well built bow, even down to the boots we all wear into our favorite little honey holes. Before the start of this past whitetail deer season, I was able to stumble across another one of those little "must haves" for my archery arsenal. One we at feel very strongly about.

The Lane Maker, by Treehopper is a firm upgrade on an old standby most every serious deer hunter already owns, the hand pruner. Built from a patented aluminum alloy, this tough, maintenance free hand pruner is capable of cutting a branch up to 1" thick.  But it's the ease in which these "super" pruners do the job that will make you wonder how you ever managed without them.

A built-in ratchet gearing system allows the user to squeeze effortlessly as the pruner does the work. No more stress put on the wrist of the hunter. No more squeezing through those wet saplings with all your might. This lane maker earns its stay in my day pack permanently!

What I am most impressed with is the noise level this pruner brings to my deer woods. Which is to say, these pruners are dead quiet. And because of there ease of use, they keep a hunter from growing frustrated while snapping those branches off even the most stubborn of underbrush.  And a less frustrated bowhunter is a calmer and quieter bowhunter!

If I have any complaints about Treehoppers, Lane Maker, it's the size restriction. While a 1" branch is still a good sized piece of lumber, my hope is that they'll somehow manage to create the same pruner with a 1 1/2" or slightly larger hand pruner. Imagine what a deer hunter could do with those!

Still, with a guarantee on the Lane Maker of 2 years from the people of Treehopper...who can complain? A solid, safe, and extremely well-built product, the Lane Maker will be on my recommendation list for quite sometime into the future


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