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The End of a Bowhunting Season; Pope and Young Club and Treestand Safety

by Todd Graf 18. January 2011 04:36
Todd Graf

 One would think that since the hunting season officially ended this past weekend in Illinois that I would be able to catch up on a little rest and enjoy some down time.  Not so fast, my friend!  As many of you know I was in Indianapolis this past weekend for the annual ATA Show and as I write this I am packing my bags and getting ready to head to Las Vegas for Shot Show too.  In between all of all this, I was able to get my 2010 buck officially scored by my good freind Jim Carlson and became an official member of the Pope and Young Club.  Jim turned me on to the Pope and Young Club and inisisted I join, and after hearing Jim tell of all the good things the Pope and Young Club stands for and represents, I immediately joined.

    October 15th was easily the best day I had hunting for the 2010-2011 season as I was able to harvest a mature self-filming.  This is my third mature buck I've been able to harvest while self-filming in the last three years.  For those of you who are on the fence about self-filming and question whether or not it limits your chances, I am here to tell you it can be done!  If you have ever thought about filming I urge you to give it a try.  Bowhunting itself is fun, but when you add a camera into the mix it only adds to the enjoyment.  Plus, you get to relive all of your hunts whenever you want to.  Stay tuned because we are going to have some self-filming tutorials soon!  When I harvested this buck, I guessed the buck to score in the mid 150s.  Well, my intuition proved to be correct as my buck officially scored 154 7/8”.  In case you missed the footage of me harvesting this buck; check out Episode 3 of Bowhunt or Die by clicking here.  

My record book buck from the 2010 season.  He was just an all around gorgeous buck that ended up grossing 154 7/8".

 I am also proud to announce that I am finally an official member of the Pope and Young Club, and that I entered my buck into the P&Y record books.  I had always wanted to become a part of the Pope and Young Club, but never really had the time to sit down and join. The Pope and Young Club is an organization that every bowhunter should think about joining.  According to the P&Y website, the Pope and Young Club is a non-profit, charitable, membership-based organization whose mission is to ensure bowhunting existence for future generations by promoting and protecting our rich bowhunting heritage and values.   It offers bowhunters around the world a chance to partake in an organization that truly protects our bowhunting rights and ensures a bowhunting future.  I encourage all of to consider joining!

If you are serious about protecting our bowhunting heritage and promising a bowhunting future, I encourage you to join the Pope and Young Club.  I recently did and it's a great organization.


   The Pope and Young Club also supports the National Bowhunter Education Foundation and the two have recently teamed up to unleash an all out attack on tree stand accidents and tree stand safety.  This campaign will be called Project STAND (Stop Treestand Accidents ‘N Deaths).  The goal is to significantly reduce the number of injuries and related deaths associated with tree stand accidents..  Studies show that 50% of tree stand hunters never wear a safety harness.  Studies also show that between 10-30% of all tree stand hunters will experience a fall or near miss during the hunting career.  By 2012, the Pope and Young Club and STAND are hoping to drastically reduce these numbers.  According to the Pope and Young Club, 83% of all P&Y Record Book whitetail entries were taken from a tree stand.  Also, tree stand accidents kill and injure more hunters than firearms.  Those really are sobering statistics and should be an eye opener for everyone.
  Unfortunately, I became a statistic this past fall as I nearly fell from a tree stand while out filming with my cameraman, Cody Altizer.  I was wearing my safety harness while hanging a new stand, and removed it before my descent.  One of the straps on my Lone Wolf climbing stick snapped and I nearly fell.  I was able to grab onto the platform of my stand to prevent a painful landing, but I did injure my right bicep pretty badly.  Thankfully, that was the only injury I had to endure.  I know my wife and little boy, Craig, are thankful too.  I am now taking a serious stand (pun intended) on tree stand safety.  I've been particularly impressed by Scent Blocker's new safety products for 2011, the Tree Spider Safety harness and vest, as well as the Livewire Descent system.  The harness itself is very light, fast and easy to put on and but more importantly safe.  The Speed Vest offers all the same features but in a vest style harness which can be worn into Scent Blocker clothing.  The Livewire Descent System allows for safe, quick, hands free descent from your tree stand.  To learn more about the Tree Spider Safety System from Scent Blocker click here.  I certainly learned my lesson after the fall and immediately ordered the Lifeline System from Muddy Outdoors for all of my treestands.  It is a literal life saver in the deer woods, because you are safe and secure from the moment you start climbing your treestand, to the moment you get down at the end of the hunt.  All you have to do is attach it to the tree when you first hang the stand and you are promised safety henceforth.  I really do encourage all of you to look into the Lifeline System for all of your treestands; the cost certainly outweighs the potential risk. 

The Pope and Young Club and the National Bowhunter Education Foundation have recently joined forces to create an educational campaign called STAND designed to educate bowhunters on treestand safety.  The above image is the logo for this new movement and both parties encourage bowhunters to help promote the cause.


   It is hard to believe that another hunting season has come and gone and quite frankly, I don’t even want to think about bowhunting right now.  I am one burnt out bowhunter.  I worked extremely hard this year and was able to harvest a beautiful 154” buck and two does with my bow, all on film, so I really can’t complain.  Before I know it spring will be here and I will be working tirelessly on my food plots and habitat management program on my property.  Shed hunting season has already begun too.  There truly is no offseason for the serious bowhunter!  If you love bowhunting as much as I do, I urge you to become a member of the Pope and Young Club to protect our bowhunting rights and the future of the sport we all love. However, I most encourage you to hunt smart and hunt safely!

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