I watch this video of Whitetail Properties’ Nick Skinner teaching us how to hang a lock-on deer stand, and a few things strike me. For one, Nick is unreasonably cheerful throughout the video. He never swats a mosquito. He never cusses. His shirt is dry, as if he didn’t sweat through it. I don’t see his left leg quivering to support his body weight after 20 minutes of trying to wrestle that stand into position atop a tiny screw-in step.
These things, I’ve always assumed, are prerequisites for hanging a lock-on stand. And what’s with that soothing music? Usually, all I can hear are the calls of a thousand southern insects, most of which either bite or sting, and the encouragement of either my wife or my dad. Both of them are on the ground to make sure I stay safe and remind me of the superiority of the other trees I could've chosen.
But I digress. In all seriousness, Nick’s approach to hanging a lock-on stand appears trouble-free because he’s using modern equipment and knows exactly what he’s doing. Here’s the takeaway:
- Climbing sticks, either the individual ones or the one-piece ladders, are no doubt the fastest, safest way to go for lock-on stands. Yeah, they cost more money. But they are worth every cent. Save the screw-in steps for additional support and hanging gear (Nick gives a great tip about using a step for supporting your stand prior to hanging it).
- A good, modern stand makes a world of difference. Such stands are lighter and more user friendly than lock-ons of even a decade ago, which makes them so much easier and faster to deal with up in the tree. They're typically much more comfortable, too.
- Strap in. Nick uses his lineman’s belt for climbing up and down the tree. And once he’s at the top, he installs a Hunter Safety System Lifeline. Other treestand companies make such safety systems, too. I can personally vouch for HSS, but really, the brand you choose isn’t as important as just choosing one. Hanging treestands is much more dangerous than hunting from them. Don't fall. Stay belted in at all times.