Guest blog from our friend Matt “Flatlander” Cheever, who hangs and maintains dozens of tree stands each season in Illinois. Great tips as you set stands and prep shooting lanes for the upcoming season:
You want your tree stand work to be efficient, and the key is to be organized. Assemble all stands beforehand in the garage or shop; don’t wait to put them together on the tailgate at the hunting property.
Paint older stands well in advance, and allow them to air out for a while. A camo pattern made with spray cans is preferred. You can sometimes buy quality spray paint that may be even better than the paint that comes on the original equipment. That can make a stand last even longer out in the weather.
Have tree stand tools dedicated and organized for the task at hand. I’ve tried organizing tools with backpacks, rubber containers and even cardboard boxes, but the best way to keep things handy and ready is with a 5-gallon bucket with a tool caddy ($15 total investment).
Here are some things you need in your tree stand bucket: Vice grips, wire cutter, electrical or duct tape, spare bolts and clips, hammer, hatchet, box end wrenches/sockets, extra rope, carabiners and band-aides and other first-aid items in a kit. Keep all this together all the time, along with about 10 extra ratchet straps bound neatly with tape. This bucket tip alone will cut your prep time in half, guaranteed.
Make sure pole saws and hand saws are sharp and ready to trim limbs as you set stands and clear shooting lanes.
Try to line up some help. Two people can do 4 times the work of one as you carry and set stands. Saves time and energy.
At a tree and ready to hang a stand, the very best tool to have is a 40-foot piece of good rope and a pulley on a D ring ratchet. Set and climb up your sticks or ladder, and ratchet the D ring/pulley to the tree. Have your helper tie a stand on securely (or climb down and do it yourself) and then hoist it up. Have your buddy tie it off below on a nearby tree, which allows you to safely secure a stand without holding it by sheer strength. This takes a few more minutes to prep, but you can easily hang more stands in a day without being dog tired from manhandling those clunky stands.
Remember to wear a full harness at all times while hanging tree stands and hunting! Good luck.