Hunters are now flocking to the woods in pursuit of big game across North America, including elk and whitetail deer. Many who journey out into the field over the season utilize treestands and take it for granted that their equipment will perform each and every time. Most pay special attention to their archery equipment, including bows, arrows, rests, sights and broadheads. But, they take their treestand equipment for granted, believing they are safe. They can never be more wrong!
Early in my bowhunting years I never thought twice about climbing into the stand without any safety precautions. I would most often use a climbing treestand without the thought of even putting on a safety harness. I believed it would either alter my position or get in the way of my string during the shot. My guardian angel must have been looking over me and working overtime because I never had a serious accident.
With a wonderful wife and three great children who love me very much I can never be too careful. So over the last 10 years I have taken nothing for granted and have been using a full body OCIA approved harness. A full body harness is the best form of protection but may still be a threat to your life through suspension trauma. So, starting this season I will be utilizing what I believe to be the safest full body harness available on the market called Rescue One CDS II. The secret behind the harness is the CDS or Controlled Descent System which allows the user to descend safely to the ground upright.
Without going into extended details, suspension trauma is caused by the heart pumping large quantities of blood into your legs and not being able to return to your heart because of the restriction of the harness on your legs. The legs can store up over half of your total blood volume through this restriction. Your blood pressure will drop, causing your heart to pump harder thereby pooling more blood into your legs.
Without adequate blood circulation all of your major organs will experience a lack of oxygen, including your heart and brain. You will eventually pass out as your heart continues to work harder and harder. The heart in turn will not be able to even supply itself with oxygen rich blood therefore leading to a massive heart attack. What a terrible way to go when you thought a full body harness would be protecting yourself.
Another possible outcome that results in death is the Harness constriction in the legs causes the blood to clot and this can happen quickly. When the hunter finally regains footing, or regains the stand the harness constriction is relieved allowing the blood to regain flowing where it can then pump the blood clot into the heart, the brain or the lungs. The result is death.
The Controlled Descent System in the Rescue One ‘CDS’ allows you to return safely to the ground alleviating the painful death described above. The system consists of a lightweight vest and pack system. The vest is a standard full body harness which is similar to other systems with slip on shoulder straps and leg buckles. The integrated pack contains a black aluminum CDS Rack, Brake Handle Strap, Brake Pin, Brake Pin Guide and 30 foot of 8mm rope, which is secured to the vest by a loop and buckle strap system.
The Rescue One ‘CDS’ II works by using the rope threaded through the CDS Rack and coiled within the vest pack. The CDS Rack is the braking system and is controlled by the hunter using the Brake Handle Strap. If a fall should occur the system will restrain your fall within the distance of your anchor line thanks to the Brake Pin. Break Away threads within the line also help take the shock from the fall. If for some reason you cannot make it back to the security of your stand or the tree the Rescue One ‘CDS’ II will allow you to make a controlled descent back to the ground.
To begin the descent the hunter must access the Brake Handle Strap located under a Velcro shell positioned on the right shoulder. The enclosure is removed easily with a quick thumb pull. Next the hunter positions both hands firmly through the strap handle. A quick tug will release a locking pin, which initially restrained your fall After the pin releases the system now utilizes the CDS Rack as a braking system. As pressure is now relieved from the rope the braking system will slowly disengaged allowing a controlled descent using the 30 feet of 8 mm rope. If the hunter needs to stop, simply reapply pressure to the braking system by pulling on the brake strap which tightens on the rope, stopping it from feeding out. In less than a minute after a fall the hunter can return to the safety of the ground. The Rescue One ‘CDS’ II can also be repacked to be used again. Mountaineer Sports, the manufacturer of the system, recommends replacing the system after two falls.
The Rescue One ‘CDS’ II also contains a Reserve Suspension Relief Strap located in the rear pack of the harness. This system is easily deployed and is comprised of a nylon web strap which allows the suspended hunter to relieve the pressure on his upper legs. Once deployed the strap can be looped at the shin area and secured to the waist belt or integrated lineman’s loop. Unlike some of the other Harness Systems, the RSRS in the Rescue One is attached at one end so all you have to do is secure the other end. This ensures you won’t drop the Relief Strap as you are trying to get it secured. After securing the strap the hunter can then stand in the created loop to allow improved circulation to the legs thereby reducing the risk of suspension trauma.
The Rescue One ‘CDS’ II is a sophisticated yet simple system designed to save your life and should be worn at all times whether hunting from a stand or installing a treestand, treesteps or ladder. A fully colored, 30 page detailed instructional manual accompanies the system and goes over every function of the vest system. Mountaineer Sports goes even a step further by also including a thorough instructional DVD.
After testing all the features of the Rescue One ‘CDS’ II I am surprised that no one else has thought of such a great idea for treestand hunters. I would have never thought such a complete harness would be this light and versatile, around six pounds. The complete system is available in one of four interchangeable patterns, ASAT, Realtree AP HD, Mossy Oak or Blaze Orange. From now on for my complete safety I will be wearing the Rescue One CDS II.
What do I like about the Rescue One CDS II:
• Lightweight – even with the 30 feet of rope the harness is still comfortable and easy to maneuver in.
• Buckle Design – The leg buckles are simple yet a strong design. They are easy to unbuckle by providing pressure with your index finger and thumb.
• Multiple Safety Features – First and foremost it is a quality made harness system with a well thought out descent system. If for some reason you are suspended for more than a couple minutes the Reserve Suspension Relief Strap will give you temporary relief.
• 3 Carabineers, Linesman Belt and Anchor Strap are also included in the package.
• Lineman’s loop on the belt for securing a Lineman’s Belt or Carabineers.
• Metal buckles and clasps. I applaud Mountaineer Sports for a quality product of which you will find no plastic that will compromise your safety.
• 300 pound weight rating, or for those larger hunters a 400 lb. limit that incorporates an 11 mm line called the Rescue One ‘CDS’ Big Boyz.
What I feel needs improvements
• Improve the metal clasp covers with more than just a free floating cloth cover. It tends to slide off the buckles and may cause unwanted noise if the metal buckles hit anything.
The complete Recue One CDS includes:
• Rescue One Vest – main vest which includes 30 feet of 11mm 5000 lb. rope
• 3 heavyweight carabineers
• Tree Anchor Strap – used to secure the vest line to the tree
• Lineman’s belt – can be used in conjunction with the vest as a secure system for installing treestands, treesteps and/or ladders.
• Colored manual and instructional DVD to ensure the operator understands the operation of the Rescue One CDS II.
For a first hand look go to : Mountaineer Sports