Inspect and repair your stands and blinds before the season to ensure a safe, successful hunt
Examine and repair straps, buckles, chains and other stand hardware to be certain they’re safe. Photo by Bill Konway
If you plan to hunt this fall from tree stands or blinds that were left in the woods and elements since this past season, you need to get out there and do a pre-season check.
Say you left four or five sets hung in trees across a property. Reference them on an aerial map on your phone app, and make sure to visit each one. At each tree, with climbing harness fully engaged, check all straps and cam buckles (or similar connectors) on ladder sections or sticks as you ascend the tree toward the stand. When you’re up, carefully and thoroughly inspect the strap, buckle, chain, or cable that secures the platform to the tree. Step and stand connectors will weather and wear, and routine inspection is a must. Retighten or replace straps as needed, or better, do what I do. Each season, I add a brand-new ratchet tie-down to every one of my stands to ensure a double measure of safety.
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Check fabric or mesh stand seats, and replace them if they were gnawed by squirrels. Finally, spray all metal seat bolts and joints with a shot of WD-40 so they won’t squeak when you stand and push the seat back to shoot at a deer in a few weeks.
If anything about tree stand set doesn’t look or feel just right after your check, do not plan to hunt from that setup. Pull the set, and rehang a fresh one that feels safer and more comfortable.
TOWER AND BOX BLINDS
If you use elevated tower blinds, walk around each one, and check the wooden or metal legs and braces. High winds during winter or summer storms can sway the stands and loosen the legs or tie-downs. Resecure any loose legs or braces, or add more support struts or heavy-wire tie-downs if needed.
Hopefully, you remembered to lock all blind windows and doors on your last hunt of this past season. A few years ago, I forgot to close a window on one of my towers, and when I returned to check the stand seven months later in August, I got a rude surprise. Nasty turkey vultures had roosted in the blind for months. The box was painted white inside with liquid droppings and stunk to high heaven. It took me two weeks to air out, clean, and disinfect the stand.
If you secured all the windows, you shouldn’t have a bird problem, but you will encounter wasps, hornets or yellowjackets at some or most of your elevated or ground-level blinds. Carry plenty of bee spray, and have it ready to fire as you open each door. Check the top and bottom corners for bees’ nests, and douse any you see. I hate spiders, so I also carry spider spray and treat the insides of all my blinds.
Spray and remove all pests, and wipe clean the insides of your blinds. Fire a shot of WD-40 on metal window and door latches so they’ll open smoothly and quietly. Oil metal or swivel chairs so they won’t squeak. You’ll be ready to go when you come back to hunt in a couple of months.
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