Growing up in the South, Bone Collector star Michael Waddell always hunted out of a tree. In this Backyard Life video, he’s taking a break from filling feeders to reflect on his conversion from the homemade stands he was raised on, to the high-tech, professionally fabricated offshoots you’ll find him camped out in these days. But, just as important, Michael shares the tree stand safety tips he says all elevated hunters should follow.
Michael begins by acknowledging that not all hunters are comfortable using the climbing-style stands favored by so many within the sport. “We all come in different shapes, sizes, ages, and various ability levels,” he explains.
Instead, he prefers ladder stands—and always outfits each with a climbing vest and safety lifeline. “Men, women, and children seem to feel more comfortable and safe climbing a 20-foot ladder, and it’s easy to strap their vest into the lifeline bails,” he remarks. “The line comes with two bails that you can slide up with you as you climb the ladder.”
Having the lifeline attached to a safety vest helps climbers feel more confident about doing something they might not otherwise do without one. That’s because—if a climber slips—they’ll be safe. “Any and everybody can hunt on a ladder stand with a safety vest and lifeline connect,” he says. “And, besides, you’re protecting the most valuable commodities: you and your spouse or children.”