Deer season is right around the corner, and now is the time to wrap up the pre-season chores in preparation for opening day. We’ve addressed a number of chores and prep work that should be a part of your routine in previous articles, but today we’re going to focus specifically on 5 pre-season fails that’ll hurt deer hunters. Failure to knock out these tasks before could likely sting, bite, or break you. Don’t blow it here! Let’s take a closer look at these overlooked chores for deer hunters.
Failing to Spray for Wasps
I’ve had several friends that have been seriously injured by wasps in the deer woods. Rarely do we think of severe injury coming from wasps, bees, or hornets, but they can in fact do some serious damage. And the damage usually occurs beyond the sting itself.
My buddy, Paul, climbed into a ladder stand several years ago, and as he approached the platform, a nest full of wasps began to empty out and do work all over Paul’s body. It was more than he could handle, and he fell away from the stand. Fortunately for Paul, he was wearing a harness and lifeline system, so he was protected from a fall to the ground.
Box blinds are another hot spot for wasps to build homes. My kids and I have both been stung crawling in and out of both ground blinds and elevated shooting houses. But we also have a friend that climbed 15’ up into a shooting house for a hunt. As he opened the door and began to crawl in, wasps on the inside began to swarm. His immediate reaction was to get back out the door. In his haste, he fell back out the door and missed the ladder. He fell to the ground, feet first, crushing his ankle bones.
Be sure to visit your tree stands and blinds before opening day to spray out and remove wasps, spiders and any other critter that might hurt you.
Be sure to clear out your blinds with wasp spray to avoid a painful swarm when you climb in for the hunt.
Failing to Clear Poison Ivy Around Your Tree Stand
Depending on how your body reacts to poison ivy, this may or may not be that big of a deal. I know some friends that’ll be headed to the doctor when they have a brush with the poison plant. One of my boys recently brushed up a portable blind with a little poison mixed in. He ended up with poison ivy from head to toe, and a few painful places in between.
Spray it down to kill it ahead of time. Remove it from the tree your deer stand is hanging in. Whatever it takes, don’t let this one get the best of you.
Poison growing around tree stands can be painful prize for those who struggle with reaction to this nuisance plant.
Failing to Check Tree Stand Straps
Far too many hunters climb into their stand on opening day without giving tree stand safety a second thought. A quick tug on the ladder or climbing sticks on the way up to make sure they’re tight is all that many hunters put into their safety checks. However, tight straps don’t necessarily mean safe straps. Tight straps routinely have dry rot and damage from squirrels and rodents. Take the time before the season kicks off to replace tree stand straps, regardless of whether they look like they need it or not.
Straps can quickly become worn and torn from weather and rodents.
Failing to Install a Lifeline
You can wear a tree stand harness all you want, and you should, but if you don’t have a Lifeline in place at your tree stands, you are running an incredible risk that can easily cause severe bodily harm or death. The Lifeline is a rope that is anchored from ground level and runs above your tree stand. It allows you to be safely anchored from the time your feet leave the ground until you return to the ground after the hunt. Most accidents happen when you’re climbing in and out of the tree stand. That’s why the Lifeline is so important. Make sure you and your family have a Lifeline installed at every stand. It’s cheap insurance when it comes to the wellbeing of your body.
Be sure to have a Lifeline at each of your tree stands. Just make sure there aren’t any wasps hiding inside.
Failing to Stay Fit
There’s a fitness trend among many hunters these days. For some, the drive to be a healthy hunter is over the top and obsessive. For others, there’s simply a realization that you can be a better hunter when you keep your body in good physical shape. Regardless of where you stand, there’s no denying that staying fit will allow you to maximize your time in the woods. It will also minimize the risk of injury and death from dragging a deer out of the woods. You’ll feel better and hunt stronger if you’ll shave the pounds prior to hunting season. Hunters die, or suffer severe injury, every year when taking part in the strenuous chores that come with a successful hunt. Don’t blow it here. Get your body in shape before game day.
There’s a lot of physical work to be done before and after the hunt. Be sure your body is physically prepared for the work.
Failing to handle the tasks mentioned above can come back to bite you this season. Take the time to knock out the chores necessary to keep you safe when you step into the woods to hunt this season. Stay safe – enjoy the hunt.