By Tim H. Martin
Last week, I shared a tree-climbing tip I learned from my days of training as a rock climber.
This tip dealt with the standard rock climber’s rule of always keeping handholds above your head at ALL times during a climb. It’s also one of the safest things deer hunters can do when climbing in and out of our treestands.
Another valuable tip I learned from mountaineering is that rock climbers keep their bodies as close as possible to the object they are climbing at all times.
A body that is closer to its points-of-contact (handholds and footholds) reduces stress on the climber’s arms, legs and hands and helps keep gravity from pulling the climber away from the wall.
The same principal applies for hunters who climb trees.
Keep your chest, pelvis and torso as close as possible to the tree or ladder you are climbing, so gravity won’t get a hold of you as easily. In bulky hunting clothing, it’s not so easy to do at times, so you need to focus.
If you have a rifle or backpack strapped to your back, you are endangering yourself even more with the added weight to the outside of your body pulling you away from the tree. This is big no-no and you know better. Bring a hoist rope for this stuff!
And if the tree you plan to climb is curved, set up your climbing sticks or tree steps on the outer part of the curve so that gravity works for you instead of against you as you climb.
In addition to proper climbing techniques, we at Buckmasters highly recommend the use of a lifeline and harness, such as models made by Hunter Safety System. This gives you added peace of mind and safety.
Good luck and be safe!