Tips & Tactics

Bungee, Pull-down & Ratchet Strap Tricks

Bungee, Pull-down & Ratchet Strap Tricks

By Mark Douglas

I’ve been a deer hunter for more than 45 years and have accumulated much knowledge to share, but I’ve had little time to write down my tips. I decided to send Buckmasters a few of my favorite uses for bungee cords, ratchet and pull-down straps — things you may never have thought of.

Ratchet and Pull-down Straps

One of my favorite stands is a real doozy. It’s on a secluded island in Virginia that requires me to pull on a pair of chest waders and cross a creek to reach my tree.

The walk is long and sweaty, but that’s where the mature bucks are, and I’ve collected more than my fair share of nice antlers off this island.

Once I get all my bulky gear up the tree, I don’t want to leave anything on the ground for the deer to discover.

My backpack is filled with a change of dry clothes, but now I have to deal with soggy wader boots, wet clothes and wet waders, along with all my other gear. Where can I store this extra stuff?

No problem! The ratchet and/or pull-down straps allow me to quickly secure the bulky gear to the tree, above a deer’s line of sight and smell.

I have my island stand gear-hanging routine down to a science, and the straps take care of securing whatever items are too heavy and bulky to snap down with my bungee cords (see below).

The ratchets also come in handy for quickly securing a stand that might have worked a little loose.

Bungee Cords

Bungee, Pull-down & Ratchet Strap TricksMost hunters think of bungee cords as something to keep deer stands and backpacks from clanging around when making long walks. We also think of them as a way to attach gear (and deer) to our 4-wheelers and ATV racks. But there are other ways I find bungees useful.

When I get settled into a treestand, I always hook a couple of bungees tightly around the tree behind my stand, within easy reach. The size and number of bungees depends on the size of the trunk.

Now I can easily snap my grunt call, binoculars and rattling antlers to the tree, along with other small items such as gloves, rangefinders, pee bottles and so forth. I can reach everything easily and remove my gear quickly and quietly.

For shots when I am facing the tree, I can sometimes slip my gun barrel underneath the bungee, which creates a stable yet movable shooting platform.

The bungee should be loose enough to allow you to follow a moving deer, and you should push the barrel through so the cord is close to the stock’s forend, not near the tip of the barrel or you’ll risk losing long-range accuracy.

If you don’t like anything touching your gun barrel, you can hook your fingers through the bungee and still be able to hold the firearm. Now you have a rock-solid rest.

– Photo Courtesy of Mark Douglas

If you have a unique or special tip you’d like to share with Buckmasters fans, please email it to and, if chosen, we will send you a cap signed by Jackie Bushman, along with a knife!

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