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Safety Harnesses


Ruth Rogers - Strapped in and ready for her opportunity

Ruth Rogers – Strapped in and ready for her opportunity

Annually across the United States hundreds of hunters do not return from their adventures. Fathers leave wives to rear their children alone. Children are forced to live without one of their parents. Perhaps the saddest part of this is that it the majority of these are preventable. Most of the injuries and deaths occur involving deer stands.

Recently I was speaking with a friend of mine who is one of the hunters whose success I envy (his name is withheld for obvious reasons) and we were discussing climbing stand strategies. In this conversation, I asked as I do with everyone now, “Do you wear a harness when you hunt from a climber?” and to my astonishment he answered that he did not use a harness. When I asked why, his answer is one I suspect is common among those who do not wear them. He said simply, “I don’t know, I just don’t”. If ever there is an answer that to this question that is confusing it is the “I don’t know.”

          We all have friends and colleagues who give the testosterone laden answer of “I don’t need to wear one.” Or the “nothing will happen to me.” Everyone of these answers leaves me shaking my head. But I must admit that I was late into the game of wearing a safety harness. However, once I became a convert, I was full bore into the fold. I never, repeat, never enter any portable, or climbing stand without wearing a full body fall restraint harness.

A recent conversation with Hunters Safety Systems who pioneered the full body restraint system was eye opening. The response was “we want to make these so easy and comfortable that we remove every excuse from not wearing one.” After one season of wearing these I agree, they are comfortable, and easy to use. I cannot fathom why someone would not want to wear one.

Attaching to the tree will save many lives

Attaching to the tree will save many lives

Amy conversion was, as I said slow but it was lasting when my daughter and I were watching Archer’s Choice TV with Ralph and Vicki Ciancuarlo, in this show, they discussed their Hunters Safety system harnesses and my daughter looked at me and asked if I wore one. Then she looked and said, “I need for you to wear one so you will come home every day.” That did it for me. I know that I owe it to my family to wear my harness. I owe it to myself, I owe it to my wife, my friends and my children to wear a harness. There is no room in the hunting world for machoism, testosterone laden decisions, and ego. We owe it to ourselves and our family to wear some sort of safety harness.

Many different companies make them today. Hunter Safety Systems, Muddy Outdoors, Gorilla, Summit, and others are all available for reasonable prices. In fact, I just purchased some harnesses for my children to wear when we hunt together. I want to begin teaching them the importance of wearing a harness. We hunt together in two person ladder stands and these have rails all around them that prevent them from falling out. However, I believe if I start now teaching them to harness in the stand, they will carry this when they are hunting alone.

I encourage you, if you hunt from any elevated stand, please wear a full body fall restraint. You will feel safer, and you will be safer. You owe it to yourself and your family.