Call Us At

Phone 402-640-3266

Where to find Us

Outdoorsmen Productions LLC

Gary Howey

” IN 2017


Entered by Gary Howey

Former tournament angler, hunting and fishing guide. Inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing "Hall of Fame" in 2017. Active member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW), Past Executive Director (AGLOW). Howey has been an outdoor communicator since 1980 with his award winning syndicated "Of the Outdoors" columns appearing in magazine, newspapers, and tabloids throughout he upper Midwest and nationally.

March 14, 2023



  If you hunt from an elevated stan, you need to use a safety harness, so stop making excuses, get the gear and learn how to use it properly.

  No one expects to be injured while hunting, but if you use a tree stand without basic safety gear, you are gambling with your Life, stop making excuses and do the things the right way. 

  At the point you are sprawled on the ground, with your fuzzy brain trying to understand what happened while at the same time taking stock of your broken body, you will understand that you should have worn a full-body harness and used a safety line in your tree stand. With a little luck, you will escape a serious leg, hip, neck or spinal injury and still be able to walk; without that luck, your life may have just changed forever.


Gear up


  Any time of the year is a perfect to get things started. If your excuse is that the harness and gear are expensive -well get started saving the money you need to gear up. Pack your lunches for a couple of days; cut out a few dinners or give up your coffee and sodas for a while.

and you can afford. Let your family know that this would be a great birthday/anniversary/Mother’s Day/Father’s Day/Christmas gift for you. You’ll need as properly fitting full body harness, a lineman belt (including Hunter Safety Systems and Muddy Outdoors, both WTU national sponsors) so ask your buddies for their recommendations. Do not buy your gear the week before the season opens and head off in the dark on opening day without testing it! Another good reason to get moving early, before the season opens, is that you have plenty of time to fit, test and get used new gear. I have a friend that complains endlessly that he hates the straps, and he feels that the hanging lines actually creates a safety hazard while ascending or descending his tree stand. When he starts complaining I simply ask him how many times he’s practiced going up in order to get used to the process, and his arguments seem to peter out.

  This is a man who spends hours and hours practicing shooting his bow, and he is a great shot. If he would practice going up and down his stands a few times, and stop fighting the concept, he would also be good at being safe.


So, Practice!


  When you learn any new skill, it is going to be awkward at first, and climbing safety is no different. If you have a friend who is already doing things correctly, ask him or her to give you a hand.

  If you don’t have any personal resources handy, there is now a readily available resource to solve problems-the internet.

  A good place to start is the Treestand Safety Awareness foundation website. Click on ‘Resources’ button and at the bottom of the page are videos with everything you need to about going up and down a tree stand. Here are the basics; if go to the site and watch the videos you will have no problem.






The Lessons


  First, you need to properly your harness system to fit you and what you are going to wear in the stand. There are many different styles you have, but whatever style you have, it will be easier to adjust for the first time if you do it inside while wearing normal clothes. Start by adjusting the leg straps, then the torso.

  It should be snug without being tight.  See how it feels while walking and sitting in various positions. Remember that you will need to make adjustments as the clothing you wear to the stand changes as the season progresses, and even from day to day as the weather changes.

  After you are familiar with all the other gear you use hunting. Make sure it does not interfere with your binoculars, rangefinder or other gear, if it does reconfigure your setup-you don’t want to be frustrated on opening morning trying to figure out where to put your essential equipment.

  Now you need to connect your harness to something. Most falls occur when the hunter is ascending or descending the tree stand, and I’m sure that most of the victims thought that they were safe going up or down. The reality is, you must be safely attached at all times you are off the ground.

  You will need to connect the harness to the tree, using either the safety line (which is an accessory purchased separately) or the lineman’s climbing strap, which is included with some manufacturing harness or vest. Whatever type of tree stand you use, you need to practice safely installing and climbing into a stand.

  The procedures are easy to learn, but sometimes they are not intuitive, and the specific steps need to be practiced.

  Just take it slowly, step by step and it will become second nature.  Remember that you should threes points of contact (two feet and one hand; two hands etc.) at all times, and will seem clumsy, and slow at first.

  Practice before the season in an open, comfortable area, In good in good weather. Also practice a fall, using the suspension relief strap, so if you ever do fall you can recover by yourself.

Be Safe Out There

   Hunting is a safe outdoor activity, and with a little effort we can make it safer. Get the proper gear, learn how to use it, practice until you are comfortable and follow basic practices—no alcohol or drugs, let someone know where you are and when you be back, have a charged cell phone and emergency whistle on you where you where you can reach, and always use a haul line in your pack and bow (or unloaded firearm.)

More information on the product mentioned in this column can be found on these web pages,,  and


Photo courtesy of Hunters Safety System




You May Also Like…