January thaw perfect opportunity to remove deer stands

Take the time now to remove your treestands and give them a safety checkup.

This balmy weather we’ve ben experiencing – when I was a kid we called it the “January thaw” –  has been dreadful for ice fishermen, especially in southern Michigan where most ice is no longer safe, even for foot traffic.

Ah, but there is a silver lining. The break from normal winter temperatures has provided ideal weather to get out and remove your treestands. Scaffolds, raised platforms, ladders steps and any other device used to assist a hunter in climbing a tree must be removed from public lands no later than March 1. They can be placed back on public lands no sooner than Sept. 1.

On private lands, many hunters leave treestands up all year. This can be a deadly mistake. Weather will take a toll on your stands, rusting metal and dry-rotting nylon and polyurethane, of which many seats are made of.

Now is a great time to remove those stands and give them a safety checkup. Look over all the nuts and bolts for rust and replace those that have deteriorated. Check all the cables and wires for pinching and wear and tear and replace anything that’s not up to par. No sense taking an unnecessary risk when it can be replaced.

Look over your seat and the straps used to attach your stand to a tree. General wear and tear can take a toll on seats and mice, squirrels, porcupine and raccoons will chew on straps and seats so replace anything that’s been eaten, or beaten up.

If rust has developed on the frame of your stand, now is a good time to sand off the rust and apply a coat or two or flat paint. (Don’t use glossy paint unless you want your stand to shine brightly in the sunshine.) Also don’t fret about the smell of fresh paint contaminating your stand site. After the paint dries leave your stand outdoors for s few weeks before rehanging them and any paint smell will be long gone.

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