If you deer hunt in areas where permanent stands are erected and have been left in place year round, now is the time to inspect those stands for safety. Ropes, chains, and straps used to secure the stands need to be checked and invariably, some burgeoning timber will need to be manicured so you can see the approach of deer around the stand.
Pardon the pun, but deer stand maintenance is no accident. Most commercially made deer stand manufacturers do not recommend leaving your stand in the woods year round, although many hunters with annual leases do just that. Permanent stands, those built on site by the hunter are also not immune to the sands of time.
Any fabric or woven material that makes up part of a deer stand should be changed annually, even if it looks sound. This includes ratchet straps, sling seats, seat webbing, or any rope or tie down that is made of textile material.
Lock-on stands and some ladders rely on metal chains to secure the stand to the tree. Even in as little as one year’s time, a chain tight to a live tree can be stretched and lose its tensile strength, so replacement of chains is also a good idea.
One area that often gets over looked is the aluminum tubing used in many types of deer stands. These stands can get filled with water and/or dirt and sand when left out. Water that freezes inside the stand tubing can cause stress fractures that will weaken the stand. Ants and other insects also find the tubing to their liking and may have built an intricate ant farm that you don’t discover until you’re sitting in the stand.
While most hunters build permanent stands from treated lumber or other rot-resistant material, weather and termites can wreak havoc on the wood, so a visual inspection of the stand from all sides is also recommended.
Now is also a good time to replace seats, carpeting or windows that have been damaged by the elements and, lastly, don’t forget to take along a can of long distance wasp spray to eradicate any wasps, bees or hornets that have been watching over your food plots this summer.