Peter’s Laws of Hanging Deer Stands

You’ve no doubt heard of the infamous Murphy’s Law where “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”. Well, I thought it was high time to document Peter’s Laws which are a corollary of Murphy’s Laws as applied to the process of hanging deer stands. For those not much into hunting, a deer stand is a steel or aluminum platform designed to be fastened high in a tree along a likely place where deer might wander by. There the hunter waits and hopes for some freezer-filling luck. Deer stands have changed a lot since I was a kid. Back then we built them with wood and nails and hunted in them every year with blissful ignorance as wood rotted and nails came loose.

I don’t think any of mine ever looked this nice.

These days, most hunters have migrated to using some variety of commercially built stand that is more temporary and fastens to the tree with chain, cable, ratchet strap or all of the above. These stands are much safer than our old home-built affairs though, as we will learn from “Peter’s Laws”, gravity is still in play. Most of these newer stands are not inexpensive and are best if removed from the woods at the end of the hunting season. Enough background. On to “Peter’s Laws”.

When hanging deer stands:

This is what most modern, commercial deer stands look like.
  • An open hook attached to a cable, strap, or chain will hook and hold tenaciously on every branch, stick, piece of clothing or any part of the deer stand it is not intended to hook on. No amount of jiggling, shaking, or wiggling will release the hook. Yet the same hook, when attached to the loop it is designed to attach to will release almost instantly before the user can apply enough tension to lock the deer stand in the tree.
  • There will be brambles, blackberries, and green briar. While this, along with poison ivy, doesn’t seem out of the ordinary and is part of the complete outdoor experience, these things will have miraculously grown 4 to 5 times their usual size from the previous year and will either be at the base of your selected tree or entirely blocking the path to the tree. And despite what botanists claim, greenbriar does too reach out a tentacle and swipe as you walk by. I’m pretty sure I once saw a greenbriar watching me. I’m certain I saw eyes snap shut when I turned to look.
Greenbrier is kind of like this but with thorns. And a lot meaner.
  • Gravity has extra power. A lock, cable, or tool sitting in the middle of a level platform can be whisked instantly to the ground by a sudden gust of gravity. While we were always taught that the force of gravity is uniform, clearly it saves up some extra oomph from those times you are doing that oil change and the dropped oil fill cap hangs inexplicably between the radiator and shield apparently suspended just out of reach from above or below in a gravity-less state. Whatever items gravity decides to suck down from the stand will inevitably be drawn into the deepest bowels of the brier or bramble waits below. (See previous law.)
  • There will be hornets.
  • You will forget something on the first trip. No matter how thorough a checklist or how many times you double checked before leaving, some vital bit of equipment or important part will remain home tucked away in a remote corner.
  • A dangling haul rope or safety line will always end up pinned between the tree and chain, cable, or strap, rendering it useless and forcing you to start over.
  • There is a high probability you somehow locked the seat in an unesable position but won’t figure that out until opening morning. (Even if you didn’t, the squirrels will eat it before then.)
  • Anything to do with suspending yourself 20′ off the ground is not the place to try to save money. Bad things can happen quickly.
  • If it is hot, double or triple the effect of each law.
If you store your deer stands outside in the off-season, chances are it will attract some friends.

1 Comment

  1. All of this sounds normal to me. Just another day in the trees getting ready for the season.

    That wooden stand in the picture is nothing like what we used to have. Especially the safety line!!

    And yes, greenbrier IS capable of reaching out and grabbing you. Even when you think you are safely past.

    Sounds like it was a good day!!

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