It finally happened. After 30 years of climbing trees, my tree stand collapsed right under my feet. Let me go ahead and say, thank God for my lifeline and my safety harness. Both worked to perfection. I only dropped about 3 feet and was able to get back on my ladder and retrieve my equipment. Here’s a little more detail. I bought this hang-on stand approximately 6 or 7 years ago. It was a larger one made by a popular company. The foot deck was attached to the seat by 2 steel cables. It was very comfortable. For the last 2 years I left it attached to the tree, even though I would loosen all the straps at the end of the year to allow for tree growth. At the beginning of each year, I went back and checked or replaced straps, and then tightened them back to make everything snug. I always attach several additional rachet straps to the stand for added safety. This year was no different. But I never imagined I would need to check the steel cables, especially when the stand was less than 10 years old. Now before you send me bad emails, I understand that first of all, I should take the stand down each year, and secondly, I need to check the cables as well, and thirdly, I probably need to replace the stand after 6 or 7 years. But back to my story. I had already hunted in this stand one previous time this year with no issues. I sensed nothing different this time. It was an evening hunt, so I was able to see everything in good daylight. I tied my bow to a pull cord, attached my harness to my lifeline, and climbed up the tree. I pulled my bow up, hung it on its hanger, and then hung a small pair of rattling antlers on the other side of the tree. I sat down, and then it happened. The platform gave way and I dropped. It happened so quickly; I had no time to even think about what was happening. It was over in less than a second. When I realized what happened, I immediately said, “Thank you Lord.” I knew a possible tragedy had been averted. This was a first for me and I am still thinking about 2 thoughts I have landed on (pardon the pun) from this event. First of all, I once thought that maybe individuals who were meeting sudden death had a few seconds to think before the event actually happened. I am now convinced death can happen before a thought can come into your mind. My accident happened so fast; my heart didn’t even have time to race. I was as calm while I was hanging as I was seconds before my fall. The second belief I am convinced of is a truth that I have read about in the Bible. It’s that, for a Christian, the time between death and being in the presence of God will not even be noticed. Oh, there is one more thought I keep having. Because of these things, let’s all make sure we are ready to meet God if our harness doesn’t hold. Stay safe out there.
Gary Miller has written Outdoor Truths articles for over 21 years. He has also written five books which include compilations of his articles and a father/son devotional. He also speaks at wild-game dinners and men’s events for churches and associations.