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So I had a thing happen this morning...

fowlskies

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Messages
40
I went out this morning with my bow to try out a new area my brother had seen a quite a few deer when we took our kids on a youth hunt last weekend. After a two mile hike through the mountains I arrived there just after daylight so I could find a suitable tree. With a tree picked out up I went and got to hunting height. For reference I climb using the one stick technique to cut on weight and have been successfully doing so for the past 5-6 years.

There I am standing on my top step about to hang my pack and pull up my bow, when looking around at the main route the deer will take through the funnel I'm in, I decide to adjust my stick a little more to the left for a better shot angle. So I lower my prussic knot a little to hang down and adjust the stick quick and move it to the desired angle. The only problem is I was hanging low enough to barely reach my stick and when I slid it over, the back side of my whoopie sling drop without me noticing. The stick slipped down a little bit and when I went to put my weight on it, it slid down even more. Now I'm grabbing the top step with my out stretch legs and toes and successfully "hook" it with my toes and go to lift it up, well this made the back side of the rope drop again. When I inevitably let the stick go because the toe method isn't working the stick really slides a ways down without any weight on it to make it lock in (about half way down the tree). That moment was a true OH SH!T!!! moment.

At this point I wrap my legs around the tree and hang there for a minute to collect myself and try to think clearly how to access what to do next. First thought is I have two screw in steps I'm going to have to maneuver my way down on. Nope! Took those out of my pack when I brought my daughter on a youth hunt the weekend before. Second thought was to call my brother and have him hike in with his sticks and get me down. That would be around a 3 hour free hang by the time he grabbed his stuff and made it to me. This thought was put in the back of my head as a last resort. My third idea was to create an aider out of my pull cord. Looking at the pull cord I highly doubted it would support my weight. BUT! while looking at the cord an idea hits me. Maybe I can pull up my bow and hook the stick and pull it up to me.

Luckily while hooking the stick with the bow my silencer bracket wedged itself into the bottom standoff on my stick. Only problem is you can't just pull the stick up because the rope activates and locks itself in being pulled up the tree the same as when it has down pressure. So after an hour and a half of shimmying the stick back and forth cm by cm using my bow as a grappling hook at the end of my pull cord, I finally got it to where I could reach the stick and detach it and set it right in front of me at chest height where I could put the proper pressure on the rope so it would bite in with the stick. I also tightened my whoopie sling as the tree was skinnier the further I went up and it being a pretty narrow tree exacerbated the problem even more.

Just a reminder...don't take shortcuts or do things without thinking when you're 20 feet up a tree. I should have lowered myself so the top of my stick and its treestrap were around head height and properly adjusted them. Instead with out thinking I made a quick adjustment and was up a tree without a ladder.
 
Last edited:

kyler1945

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Dec 4, 2016
Messages
4,598
Location
Baton Rouge, La.
Couldn’t shimmy up and drop your girth hitch down? Big tree? Bear hug that sucker and go up 2” at a time till you can get to your tether, then back down a little at a time. Surely faster than spending an hour fishing sticks ?
 

KYRanger

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Nov 13, 2019
Messages
292
Location
Louisville, Kentucky
Have you considered tethering your stick to you? I have been rappelling this year. Easy to drop down and retrieve if necessary. Glad you were able to navigate through the issue and get down safely. It's funny all the situations we find ourselves in while hunting! Well, maybe not funny.
 

fowlskies

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Messages
40
Have you considered tethering your stick to you? I have been rappelling this year. Easy to drop down and retrieve if necessary. Glad you were able to navigate through the issue and get down safely. It's funny all the situations we find ourselves in while hunting! Well, maybe not funny.
I probably will be doing this from now on. I had a good laugh at myself when my feet hit the ground.
 

Weldabeast

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May 23, 2019
Messages
7,105
Location
Northeast Florida
If u tether the stick 2 ur person the rope would have to be longer than needed as to make sure that it would allow u to stand on your top step and not be real tight....if the same thing happened (stick drop) it still be about the same as trying to pull up with the pull rope.....the stick attachment rope wouldn't allow it to come up easily.

I made a whoopie sling that long enough to allow girth hitch around the trunk...if I hanging with no footing I can get that sling and girth the tree, adjust the loop length to make a foot hold. Step into loop and stand...if still can't reach, adjust your prusik or whatever u use up as high as u can and reset the whoopie higher... repeat until u can reach the tether.... easier than rappelling back down and climbing again
 

fowlskies

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Messages
40
Couldn’t shimmy up and drop your girth hitch down? Big tree? Bear hug that sucker and go up 2” at a time till you can get to your tether, then back down a little at a time. Surely faster than spending an hour fishing sticks ?
I did think of doing that too. Actually it was the opposite problem, the tree was too skinny and my legs and arms wrapped too much around it to get good enough strength and friction to shimmy up. I also was near the end of my tether because when stick first slipped I had to shimmy myself down so I could reach it with my toes.

When I had it about half way to me using the bow I remembered that I had a length of paracord I could've made an aider with but I was already committed at that point.
 

Weldabeast

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May 23, 2019
Messages
7,105
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Northeast Florida
I used to keep my carry with me aider attached to me so I couldn't drop it but I found it to be more troublesome than anything else...the extra rope was always getting tangled or obstructing me in some way while climbing. If that rope keeping it stick from falling accidental gets hooked on ur bottom step or standoff and u don't notice and go to the top step that helpful extra rope now got u messed up. I ended up taking it off and just carry that sling and the rappel gear....between having a linesman,tether,sling, and rappel rope there are lots of options just in case something go screwy

Knock on wood I have yet to drop my aider
 

CharlieTN

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Joined
Sep 21, 2019
Messages
369
I recently switched my gear strap to a 7/64” amsteel daisy chain. Part of the consideration is that it could serve as a backup in just a similar scenario. I could make a temporary foot loop, backup tether (although very backup) or whatever I needed to help out in a difficult scenario.

I also rappel down so that would of course be my first option to get down and get the stick. Glad you worked it out. It reminds us that we need to plan for the worst but hope for the best.
 

TreeMunkie

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Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
202
I've had similar issues even with using sticks when I first started saddle hunting. I was pulling up my bow and it swung over and caught a step, lifting it enough to release the tension and causing it to slide down the tree to the step below. Since I was using aiders the gap between steps was such that to reach the step that dropped I had to max out my tether and hang upside down to reach it. I now carry a foot sling I can use to unweight myself if I don't want to rappel down.
 

JCLINE84

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Vendor Rep
SH Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2017
Messages
801
THIS!! When people ask why I always rappel and have an extra atc and prusik with me lol. Rappelling gear will get you out of the tree safely if something goes wrong. I can drop my stick or spurs or whatever else and I at least always have a way down. I made one of the rappel storage things that @ckossuth made just so that one piece of gear is always on my saddle.
 
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