Prepare Your Hunting Tree Stand in Five Steps

You're not going to be sitting in it for another month, but your hunting tree stand should be on your mind now. Here are some things you can do now to prepare for when that big buck saunters into bow range.

Step One: Check Your Hunting Tree Stand for Problems

First, give your hunting tree stand a physical. Look it over for torn webbing, bent metal or other imperfections that can cause problems. Never take a chance with a hunting tree stand that may not be in tip-top shape. Tighten the bolts, replace webbing or straps, and replace anything that looks worn. Now is a great time to consider adding features such as a mat for the foot platform or snap-on accessory bags to the armrests.

Step Two: Check Your Safety Harness

Second, put your safety harness on to check it for worn areas. Try it in the dark to be sure that you can put it on in the early morning. Consider using a climbing system that allows you to be attached to the tree the entire time you're climbing.

Step Three: Hang Your Hunting Tree Stand

Third, use this time to hang your hunting tree stands and clear shooting lanes. Hang your climbing system and get everything ready so that when opening morning comes, you can slip in and get settled without making much noise.

Step Four: Practice Shooting From Your Hunting Tree Stand

Fourth, practice shooting from an elevated position. Kill two birds with one stone by using a climber to refamiliarize yourself, and your muscles, with the inch-worm movement up the tree. Then pull up your bow and practice.

Step Five: Add a New Hunting Tree Stand

Fifth, add one location to your hunting milk run. Look at your hunting area via an Internet site that shows aerial images, such as Google Earth or teraserver, and look for overlooked corners and areas. Then walk those areas and select at least one new area for hunting. Either hang a hunting tree stand now or mentally catalog it for later.