Tips & Tactics

Add ‘Guest Vest’ to Your Checklist

Add ‘Guest Vest’ to Your Checklist

By Lee Hutcherson

Since hunting season has arrived, I want to remind my fellow hunters about keeping extra gear, including one special item that few of us keep as a spare.

Exceptional whitetail hunters know success depends on preparedness before the season starts, beginning with archery and firearm practice.

But what about after the season is underway?

Checklist Reminder: Common extras include archery releases, batteries for rangefinders, a fully charged backup flashlight, and an additional length of rope. These spares could mean the difference between success and failure.

But the item I am thinking of could mean life or death.

As someone who works in an industry where fall protection is paramount, I shouldn’t have forgotten this spare gear, but I’ve since learned it’s a common oversight among other hunters.

Safety harnesses are thought of as a one-per-hunter item, but if you’ve hunted as long as I have, you can probably think of a time you wished you had an extra harness stored in your hunting vehicle, cabin or nearby hunting club trailer.

Add ‘Guest Vest’ to Your ChecklistOne cold morning I made it all the way to my stand then realized I’d left my safety vest at home. I’d gotten up early and gone to all that trouble to be in my stand before dawn.

The temptation was there to go ahead and climb, but I did the smart thing. I turned around and returned home, kicking myself all the way. No deer is worth risking your life, but what a waste of precious time!

After talking to other hunters, this happens more than you’d think, especially in colder weather when dressing with harnesses beneath heavy clothes is part of the routine.

Another great reason to keep a spare safety vest on hand is if a guest arrives unexpectedly. We can usually dig up all the gear for them to hunt EXCEPT the harness. Sound familiar?

For these reasons, my hunting friends and I began to keep a couple of spare guest vests at the hunting lodge and in our ATVs.

Most treestand companies supply a safety harness in their stand package which will make a decent spare. However, again, as someone who works in an industry where fall protection is a way of life, I invested in some quality Hunter Safety System vests and Lifeline Systems for my spares.

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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Copyright 2019 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2017 by Buckmasters, Ltd