Essential Treestand Gearon Oct 12, 2012
For me, there is nothing quite like the days leading up to bow season. Tags are purchased, shooting form is polished and polished again, hunting clothes are washed and put away, plans are formulated, vacation days are submitted, and field points are enthusiastically replaced with broadheads. Perhaps the most alluring part of my preparation is the gathering of gear. You know what I’m talking about. All of that “stuff” that makes wrapping your hands around a set of deer antlers just a little bit easier.
However, this yearly “gear gathering” ritual isn’t without its own recurring problem. You see, regardless of how much bowhunting paraphernalia you have managed to amass, the truth is you can only take so much of it with you into the stand. And, if you’re anything like me, deciding which items stay home and which ones will accompany you on your next big journey can be a tough decision. After all, is there really such a thing as a “non-essential” item?
I use to think there wasn’t. But, like most things in life, time and experience has taught me otherwise. Consequently, I have managed to narrow my gear list down just a bit. And, while it may still appear to be lengthy, each piece of equipment has, at one time or another made the difference when it came to getting the most out of my experience chasing whitetails with a bow and arrow. Some of the items are only used during certain phases of the season. Others, I would never leave home without.
If you’re having trouble deciding which category your stuff falls under, fret no more. What follows is a no-nonsense look at the gear bag which has served me well for many years in the whitetail woods.
Whether you’re heading out to a local honey-hole in your own backyard, or a prime location 500 miles away, you’ve got to make sure that your bow survives the trip. Otherwise, its game over before the game even starts. In order to do that, you’ve got to have quality protection for your valued weapon.
The biggest dilemma I face in the terrain I typically hunt, is finding a way to safely and securely store my bow on my ATV. Bone-jarring rides over rocky terrain, errant branches, knee-high ruts, and dust filled rides are all part of the experience. A week’s worth of exposure to those conditions can wreak havoc on your equipment; especially if you simply strap your bow down with some inexpensive bungee-cords. Which, by the way, I have tried….not the outcome I had hoped for.
The Big Horn Rear Rack Bag by Moose Utility Division has plenty of room to carry and protect different types of bowhunting equipment---all in one easy to use system.
There are several companies who manufacture quality bow cases that will attach directly to an ATV. Some cases are hard, and some are semi ridged. The choice is really up to you as to which one is best. I have used both. And, while hard cases are the best for overall protection, they do take up a little more space. However, they can also be used for transporting your bow in a vehicle too; essentially allowing you to kill two birds with one stone.
When it comes to traveling by plane, protecting your equipment is an absolute must. Without question, a hard-case is the only way to go. To say your stuff is going to endure some abuse would be an understatement. I once shared camp with an industry writer who gambled with a semi-ridged bow case. When the airline finally found his luggage (a day late), we were astonished to discover that one of the carbon arrows in his quiver was snapped completely in half! Luckily his bow was still intact and functioning properly. One can only imagine what carelessness his case was exposed to.
When it comes to getting your bow up to the stand from ground level, the long running standard has always been the bow rope. Being lightweight, easy to carry, and next to nothing in overall size, bow ropes are pretty convenient. That is, until you pull one out in the middle of the pre-dawn darkness and it has more twists and turns in it than a John Grisham novel. Certainly, a knotted up bow rope is the last thing you want to face before climbing into your stand.
In order to avoid such calamities, you can always opt for one of the self-contained “retrieval-type” systems on the market. These handy devices never tangle since the bow rope (cord) is typically housed in its own convenient case. As you pull your bow up to your stand, the excess rope feeds itself back into the case; much like a carpenter’s tape measure.
Another option is to simply leave your bow-rope hanging from your stand, if it is pre-hung, and attach your bow once you reach it. Or, wrap it around the platform of your self-climbing stand so it is less likely to become tangled before using it.