Thinking back to my younger days when I first started bowhunting from an elevated position, I would climb a tree and then stand or sit on a limb. Not once did I ever think about falling out and breaking my neck. It just never entered my mind. Absolutely ludicrous! Then I really thought I was smart when I would get some 2×4’s with some decking and build an unsafe platform to stand on. All of this was unsafe and very dangerous. This took place back in the 1960’s when there were not any treestands manufactured and to think of a safety harness was not even a remote consideration. I am just thankful that I did not fall and kill myself.
Fifteen years ago, I was on a deer hunt in Central Texas. After lunch, a good friend of mine wanted to put up a stand over a wheat field. I told him that I would ride along if he needed any help. Climbing the tree my friend got to where he wanted to position the stand, approximately 20 ft up. I was standing on the ground, watching him struggle to put up his stand when all of a sudden he stepped on a limb, it broke! It was a matter of seconds and my buddy was lying at my feet on his back, totally knocked out and his eyes were rolled back in his head. I truly thought he was dead. It was very scary situation. Two minutes went by and he started groaning and slowly started to open his eyes. Long story short, my friend was banged up bad and broke 6 ribs but in reality, it could have been a much more serious accident. That’s when treestand safety finally knocked me up side the head.
This day and time there is not one reason or excuse that any hunter needs to fall from an elevated position. One of the greatest innovations that ever hit the market was developed last year by Dr. Norm Wood of Mountaineer Sports. The product he developed is The Rescue One CDS (Controlled Decent System). The Rescue One is a full body safety harness that will support you if you should fall. It is very light and is not cumbersome or bulky but the coolest thing is it is designed to allow you to lower yourself to the ground if you should fall.
Let me give you a scenario. Say you fall from you treestand with a conventional safety harness. The harness will prevent your fall but if you can’t get back on the platform of your stand and you stay suspended, this is where the problem of suspension trauma can happen. All the circulation is stopped in the legs and prevents the blood from going to your heart and in a matter of minutes this can kill the hunter. With Dr. Wood’s Rescue One, you pull the red brake handle cord and slowly lower yourself to the ground safely.
I purchased my Rescue One along with the optional Ascend/Descend Safety Line. What I like about this system is the fact that I can connect my Rescue One to the Ascend /Desend Safety Line. The benefit with this is I am 100% attached from the time I leave the ground to the time I get in my stand. The process holds true when also descending. Most treestand accidents happen when hunters are ascending or descending the stand.
Everyone that hunts from an elevated position should have the Rescue One. In fact, it’s a no brainier. Treestand accidents happen fast and the moment you fall it’s too late. I want you to live to hunt another day.