Hunting From High Places?

by Karen L Cranford

Should you leave your treesteps in the tree year to year? How do you know your steps are in right? Reading this climbing guide guide may save your life!!!

To Karen Cranford's List Of Columns

Cranford Manufacturing Company, Inc. (CMCI) manufactures EZY® Climb Tree Steps and hunting accessories and Guardian Climbing Safety Systems and Angel Wings™.  We desire as a service to the hunting community to publish the following information as an educational aide and guide for those outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen who desire to hunt from elevated positions. 

As with any sport, there are always dangers and risk of injury.  As a result, we at CMCI have compiled the following list of guidelines to use when climbing to hunt.  These guidelines represent the accumulation of knowledge, experience, and incidents occurring during our nearly 30 years of experience in this industry. 

The application of common sense combined with this knowledge should provide each of you with years of safe hunting experience in elevated tree stands.  If you personally have had an unusual incident occur when climbing to hunt, please notify us and we will attempt to add your incident to this growing list of precautions, warnings, and recommendations.  You may email us at

Before Going Into The field:

  1. ALWAYS use good judgment when climbing to hunt.  ATTITUDE may mean your life.
  2. ALWAYS let someone know where you will be hunting and when you will return.
  3. NEVER compromise safety. Always follow instructions. Use proven equipment.  (CMCI recommends EZY® Climb Tree Steps, Guardian Climbing Safety Systems and Angel Wings™.) 
  4. Practice with all equipment.  Begin at ground level to get familiar with your equipment.  It's a good idea to do some of this practice at night when lighting is similar to actual hunting circumstances. 
  5. ALWAYS inspect equipment before use.  Replace any worn, deteriorated, frayed, or broken equipment.   ONLY YOU CAN ENSURE YOUR SAFETY BY USING PROPER EQUIPMENT AND BY PROPER USE OF SELECTED EQUIPMENT.
  6. NEVER allow anyone other than the original manufacturer to make repairs or modifications to your equipment.
  7. Use each of your products only for their intended purpose.  Be sure to purchase all products you will require before going to the field to avoid the temptation to reengineer products on the spot.
Prior To Climbing:
  1. NEVER WEAR RINGS OR ANY OTHER TYPE OF JEWELRY when climbing on tree steps.  These items can become caught on your climbing equipment and cause severe injury.
  2. NEVER climb when fatigued or under the influence of alcohol or any other type of drug.
  3. DO NOT CLIMB TO HUNT if you do not possess the physical strength, stamina, and flexibility to do so.
  4. NEVER exceed the manufacturer indicated safe working load of the specific product you are using.
  5. ALWAYS select a straight, live tree that is suitable for climbing.  Avoid trees that are dead, have dead or rotting limbs, are unhealthy, have excessive knots or weak spots, or are too small to support the weight of climbing.  Avoid trees that have thick, slick, or loose adhering bark.  Avoid trees composed of soft wood that might not be strong enough to support/hold a properly installed tree step.
  6. Prior to climbing, CLEAR THE POTENTIAL LANDING ZONE of objects that might injure you in the event of a fall.
  7. Use a haul-line to raise and lower bows, firearms, and other equipment.  Never climb with or raise/lower a loaded firearm.
  8. Take your time while climbing.  It seldom takes more than a few minutes more to use proper care and to potentially save your life or avoid the inconvenience of spending the rest of your life in a wheel chair.  Take additional care in wet or icy conditions.  Remember, there are times when it is unwise to climb for any reason.  NO TROPHY is worth your death or serious injury.
  9. Be sure shoes/boots are dry and free of dirt/mud before climbing tree. 
Climbing On Your Tree Steps: 
  1. NEVER install a tree step in an existing or pre-drilled hole.
  2. ALWAYS allow the step to create its own tapered hole. 
  3. NEVER partially unscrew a tree step and place weight on it.  instead, completely remove the step and reinstall in a new location.
  4. ALWAYS screw a tree step into the tree (not in the bark of the tree) until the step frame is within 1/8” of the tree.  (EZY® T uses a different installation process.)
  5. ALWAYS ensure the entire upright portion of the tree step is flat against the tree for support.
  6. ALWAYS place your foot completely on the step area as close to the tree as possible.  NEVER step out on the end of the step away from the tree.
  7. NEVER place tree steps farther apart than you can comfortably reach.  (Typically, steps should be spaced no farther apart than the distance from the ground to the inside back of your knee when your knee is bent at a 90 degree angle.)  Pushing and placing weight sideways on steps can cause screws or steps to break or bend. 
  8. ALWAYS step straight down on tree steps.
  9. NEVER leave steps or screws in tree for extended periods of time. 
  10. NEVER leave screws or tree steps in tree through a freeze. 
  11. Store steps in a dry area, away from weather and sunlight.
  12. ALWAYS use enough steps to climb high enough to step down onto or across into your tree stand.  DO NOT attempt to climb up from steps into stand.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your tree stand.
  13. NEVER jump from tree or tree steps.  ALWAYS descend to ground on tree steps.
  14. Never substitute a tree limb for a tree step.
For more information go to:

DISCLAIMER:  This list is an attempt to provide you with guidelines, recommendations, and warnings compiled as a result of incidents that have occurred in the past that we at CMCI are aware of.  This list is by no means exhaustive.  Other dangers are possible.  Following this list completely will not necessarily guarantee you will not be injured while hunting.

Visit our website at or for information on our many products.

© Cranford Manufacturing Company, Inc. 2003

This document can be copied and distributed to other hunters for their use as long as it is copied in its entirety including the copyright statement.

Karen L Cranford
Karen is the Director of Operations for Cranford Manufacturing Company, Inc., the creators of EZY® Climb Tree Steps and Hunting Accessories and the manufacturer of Guardian Climbing Safety Systems and Angel Wings.

Karen L Cranford
Karen is the Director of Operations for Cranford Manufacturing Company, Inc., the creators of EZY® Climb Tree Steps and Hunting Accessories and the manufacturer of Guardian Climbing Safety Systems and Angel Wings.

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