Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Most Dangerous Part Of Your Hunt

What do you think is the most dangerous part of deer hunting? Most would say the risk of getting shot by another hunter is the most dangerous. Those with a wild imagination may believe the risk of being attacked by a wild animal is the greatest danger. In reality, these dangers are statistically insignificant. It is prudent to protect yourself from getting shot and from being eaten by a bear, but the chances of it happening to you are very, very small.

The two greatest dangers are (1) getting in a automobile accident on your way to hunt and (2) falling from your tree stand. Driving is the most dangerous thing most of us do on any given day, so you could say that driving to the store or to church is the most dangerous part of shopping or worshiping. I always think it funny when people don't let their kids go shooting, canoeing, or swimming for fear that they will get hurt. Yet they have no problem driving them to school. Driving to the shooting range is much, much more dangerous than the actual shooting part. However, I'm getting off point.

Falling from your tree stand is the biggest danger a hunter will face in the field. Deer and Deer Hunting did a landmark study that concluded that 33% of hunters will fall from their stands and 3% of those will receive crippling injuries due to a fall. If I'm crunching my numbers right, about 1 in every 100 hunters will be crippled in some way due to a fall from a tree stand.

About 80% of the falls happen while climbing up or down. Most people who fall are over 50 years old.

After doing some further research I found that about 63% of the hunters hurt from falls had alcohol in their blood. Holy crap! People actually drink and hunt!?! Those guys don't get any sympathy from me. If you drink and hunt you deserve to get hurt, just be glad you didn't hurt anyone else!

I also found out that almost all of the hunters injured were not wearing safety harnesses. By doing a personal, informal survey I found that none of the hunters I know wear a safety harness. None. At first this was shocking to me, until I purchased a new climbing stand. With it came a safety harness. The supplied safety harness did not come with instructions and was a tangled mess. I'm not a dumb guy. In fact, figuring out how things work is part of my job and what I am best at. I could not figure out how to put the dumb thing on! I got so frustrated I balled it up and threw it in the trash. I'm getting upset just thinking about it! If the industry wants us to be safe, they need to do a better job at designing inexpensive safety harnesses. I can understand why people don't use them.

After getting tangled in the crappy harness that came with my stand, I went shopping for a good one. Have you tried to buy a safety harness lately? They are ridiculously expensive! You can easily spend $150 on a harness. The medium price is around $100. You can buy a lot of fun stuff for $100. The average hunter is going to buy new camo, arrows, or boots well before he dishes out $100 on a safety harness. This is just a fact of life.

Finally, I found a good inexpensive safety harness. It is the "Big Game Ez-On Basic Safety Harness". You can get it from for about $40.

It is 1,000,000% easier to put on than the piece of crap that came with my stand. I can put it on in less than 30 seconds. It is comfortable to sit in, but not to walk around in. I am 5'6" and 135 pounds. I am the very smallest this harness will fit. It is actually a little big on me. This harness is kind of heavy in my pack, but I guess they all are. It does not feel heavy when I wear it. I feel that it is well worth $40.

Best of all, while using my climbing stand, I feel safe. There is no way I would use a climbing stand without this harness. If you do not have a good harness, buy this one. Your kids and bones will thank you! If you already have a decent harness, use it!

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