7 Tips to Properly and Safely Care for Your Tree Stand in The Off-Season
The deer are getting older, and your tree stand is too. The season is now in the rearview mirror, and all that remains are the memories of your hunt and, not to mention, all the venison stocked in your freezer. Which is perfect for enjoying as a jerky or a delicious entree!
While the hunting season is over, it is essential to remember the postseason maintenance on your tree stand. Routine cleaning and maintenance on your tree stands are just as important as routine cleaning and maintenance on your guns, your bows, your truck, your tractor, your side-by-side, etc...
A quality tree stand is a significant investment and critical tool for your hunting success. So it is vital to take care of it, and that starts with a thorough inspection plus maintenance upkeep once the season ends. Follow along with these 7 helpful tips to get the most from your tree stands and put yourself in position for success next fall.
1. Remove Your Tree Stand from the Location
Some hunters leave their tree stands up all year, but this subjects your stand to brutal weather conditions and can result in significant damage. We get it, uninstalling all of your tree stands the traditional way can be a lot of work. But with a strategy, it can be fun again too.
The season has ended, which can only mean one thing, it's time to remove the tree stand and bring it home or another form of safe storage.
2. Inspect Every Inch 'Especially the Straps'
Relative to safety, we all think what we’re doing is safe enough, right? But we can all get better! Safety is key! Among the most important items to inspect on your tree stand are the straps and cables, if your stand has them because they can become a safety hazard quickly. The straps, or webbing holding your stand to the tree, can be under tremendous pressure depending on how fast that particular tree grows. Then consider the UV rays that deteriorate the straps in direct sunlight. Any frayed, damaged, or broken straps/cables should be replaced. Failure to do so can result in serious injury the next time you use it.
We’ve all heard the stories of straps breaking at the start of the next hunting season. Here’s what happens. Someone gets a new tree stand and installs it. When they do, they get the straps as tight as possible around the tree. They hunt for a full season, then neglect to do any routine maintenance. The straps holding that stand to the tree remain in place for a full 12 months of exposure to the elements; rain, sun, hot, cold. And the tree grows. Then, as the next season begins, that same person climbs into the tree stand and the straps break. Don’t let this happen to you.
There is no need to worry about the rust because our tree stands are made of aluminum, with the exception of the components that integrate with the tree and the tubes that support the articulating bracket. They are all high strength steel. Plus, all hardware is coated with a proprietary DuraCon finish. There won’t be any rust on our hardware, how incredible is that?
In addition to the straps and cables, it is essential to check the stand’s ratchets, pins, and S-hooks to ensure they are in good condition and working correctly. You should also check all the bolts on your tree stand to make sure they are tight. If your parts are worn or stressed, they need to be replaced. Rusted or damaged bolts should also be replaced with new ones. Replace rotted boards and check for any other safety issues that may be a concern. Making repairs now will help ensure it will be ready for next fall. Be proactive about taking care of your tree stand gear.
3. Remove Rust for a Successful Next Season of Hunting
Rust is a top problem that affects tree stands. Your inspection should include a search for rust on your stand. Rust weakens steel and that’s an obvious problem. Rust also can cause metal parts that are supposed to slide over one another to become stuck. Just ask someone who has tried to get a rusty nut unstuck from a rusty bolt.
If any rust is present during your check-through, at a minimum, we recommend you thoroughly sand, then prime and paint the area. When possible, replace the rusted parts with new parts.
Sometimes the powder coating starts showing a green tint. The good news is it can be pressure washed right off without removing the powder coat. For example, if an old car has been parked outside under a tree for an extended amount of time, tree sap will fall, and the vehicle will have a weathered look to it. Similar to tree stands. We recommend doing a maintenance check regularly. This will help keep your tree stand in top condition and safely protect it for more years of successful hunting seasons.
4. Assess and Analyze Your Seats
A good tree stand seat can be a deer hunter’s best friend, so you want to keep your seat in top condition. Did you know that our seat covers are designed to slide on and off for easy removal? Not to brag, but we are the only brand with this feature too.
If your seat has any rips or holes, repair them so they do not become worse. If your seat is worn beyond repair, this is an excellent time to order a new one. To best protect your seat during the offseason, it is recommended to store it in a dry place until next season. Store it in a sealed and safe location, if that’s an option.
Our tree stand seats are not supported by cables. The seat bottom can be raised up against the seatback if you prefer to stand on the platform instead of sitting in the seat. That seat bottom functions silently thanks to special washers. It’s a friction system, so as routine maintenance for our seats, you may need to tighten that seat bolt. Otherwise, the seat bottom will want to fall to its down position.
5. Properly Clean the Entire Tree Stand from Top to Bottom
It is important to thoroughly clean and dry your tree stand before you pack it away for the season. Remove all debris (dirt, grass, sticks, or other items) that may have collected on your tree stand during your season. Pressure washing your tree stand can be an easy process to remove dirt and grime.
Resist the urge to spray or rub oil, grease, or other protecting lubricants on your tree stand before storage to prevent rust. The problem with oils is their scent, which can work its way into hard-to-reach places and be challenging to remove. Meaning, there is a risk deer will smell it next fall.
3 Helpful Cleaning Tips:
1. Cleaning is not likely a favorite thing of yours to do. So have a plan. After you’ve uninstalled your tree stand, know that you plan to clean and inspect the entire tree stand. Not just a few specific parts, the whole stand.
2. Once the tree stand is completely inspected and clean, allow it to dry, and have a strategy to keep it dry.
3. Wash any and all soft goods in a scent-free detergent before storing them away in a dry place.
6. Securely Store Your Tree Stand for Next Fall
If you leave your tree stand on the same tree all year, make sure to check it regularly so your straps don’t break. If you plan to take it down, never store your tree stand unprotected. If possible, avoid storing your tree stand in the garage. The garage hosts various scents game associates with humans, such as gas, oil, exhaust, pet smells, weed killers, and fertilizer.
For example, pets urinating on it, accumulating scents from automobiles and lawnmowers, and damage from exposure to UV-rays from the sun. Also, don't forget about those pesky outdoor critters known to get into garages and potentially damage the tree stand by sinking their teeth into it. This is why we recommend your tree stand be adequately protected.
The best tree stand options for storage during the off-season months are the basement of a home or well-constructed warehouse/storage shed free of critter activity, moisture, and strong-smelling scents. Make sure to keep your tree stand dry and out of direct sunlight. We like to keep the straps (and any soft goods) in separate zip lock bags.
Our tree stand webbing is UV protected and has a working load limit of 3,000 pounds! We recommend our customers replace their tree stand webbing every two years.
7. Double Check You Met All the Tree Stand Maintenance Steps
Every year hunters fall from their tree stand and sustain injuries, sometimes severe and sometimes not. According to The Tree Stand Safety Awareness Foundation, there are approximately 3,000 tree stand-related accidents that result in injuries a year. Often, it's due to human error, but sometimes falling from a tree stand occurs because of lack of maintenance.
Either way, at Heaven’s Trail, we've got your back.
Every hunter should take his or her time at the end of each season to ensure their stand is in good condition and fix anything wrong. You've invested money in your deer hunting tree stand and time in learning how to use it. With proper care, it will last a lifetime. The same goes for ultimately anything of quality that you own; failure to properly maintain and care for your tree stand can reduce its lifetime and, worse, be unfit for use.
More than 103 million Americans—a staggering 40 percent of the U.S. population 16 years and older—participated in some form of fishing, hunting, or other wildlife- associated recreation such as bird- watching or outdoor photography. And in doing so, we spent an estimated $156.9 billion on equipment, travel, licenses, and fees.
These expenditures represent almost 1 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product— creating and supporting thousands of jobs and communities across the nation.