Lessons remembered at first deer stand of the season.


Oct 5, 1998

1) Always use lanyard on machetes. I forget how tiring they can be especialy when you haven't used one in a while, and I'm no weakling.
2) Have a good sheath for your machete and all your knives,hatchets,etc.,it is easy to slide on those steep hills and loose dirt.
3) If you thin out the grind on your machete to make it better at skinning and such don't be suprised when it looses a chunk of blade when you use it to hack limbs off of tough trees like hedge for instance.In all fairness that same limb kind of laughed at my sharp hatchet,too.
4) The saw back on that machete worked surprisingly well, even on that old hedge.(I bought a saw back Ontario this year just to see how it would do,not expecting much out of the saw,which is why I chose that one to experiment with the blade thinning to see if it would do double duty as a chopper and a skinner.)
5) Sawing is quieter than chopping.
6) It is unbelievably easy to loose any tool you can't sheath easily or otherwise can't keep on your person (like while doing certain activities such as climbing,etc.)in the woods,especialy on leafy or soft ground,especialy when it starts getting dark. One reason I always like to have a 5-7 inch tough "kabar" type all purpose knife with me in a good heavy duty sheath is that I always have it on me,even while climbing and such.

7) Have a light on your watch so you don't have to light up the whole woods with your flashlight just to see what time it is.I don't like tritium dials and such for the same reason I don't like night sights on my handguns for the most part,you can't turn them off.They are just as easy for anyone or anything else close by to see when it is pitch black as it is for you to see.
These are just some things I thought of while working on a deer stand a few weeks ago with a friend and with my youngest boy.I hope they can help keep someone else from making some of the mistakes I have made and seen made in the past.
Think I'll pass on a tree stand story.
I have a friend that's an avid bowhunter.
Not a beginner by any means. He's a good very successful bear hunter and even hunts coyotes
with a bow. Seems he was in his stand and Took a shot at a nice buck. Don't know exactly what happened but it seems he messed up somehow (arrow somehow got deflected or something) and the arrow hit the deer in the spine partly paralyzing it's back legs. Then this buck started pullin himself towards the tree my friend was in. As the story goes there weren't many clear shots and he even got nervous and dropped an arrow leaving himself with no arrows and a powerful animal with 8 knives on it's head alive at the bottom of his tree. Sat in that tree a long time. He gets a lot of teasing whenever the subject of expert bow hunter comes up.
Here is the BEST piece of advice I could ever give for someone starting to hunt from a tree stand:

ALWAYS were a safety belt/harness!!

Veteran bow hunter buddy of mine in CT had fallen out of his tree a few times over the past 20+ years. It is too easy to fall a sleep and fall out of tree. Don't laugh! People have died, and gotten paralyzed. I use a harness while I climb up, also. Yeah, it is annoying, but I want to see my little girl group up. My buddy now uses a belt, and harness after he spent a number of months in a neck brace - lucky to be alive.

Ray 'md2020'
That's important as well as getting yourself in the stand and THEN hauling your gear up on a cord. Also good to lower your gear and swing it away from the tree to land it on the ground away from where you could fall. Too many bow hunters have been injured by their gear by climbing while carrying it. Yes it's stupid but we hear the stories every hunting season. There are a lot of little knives in that gear.