Getting into a deer blind seems pretty basic - climb up, open the door and step in. But, climb up in the dark, after a heavy frost - then it can get a bit more complicated, even dangerous, for the hunters or their guests. My interest in improving deer blind safety was brought about by a personal accident in October of 2017. I fell ten feet, from the landing, breaking my left femur. Since that time, I’ve been thinking about how to make our deer blinds safer; not just for me, but for the grandkids, family, friends and all deer hunters.
To be clear, most deer blinds are pretty safe today, or we wouldn’t use them. But, an accident is something that no one expects – or we wouldn’t call them accidents. One key to safety is to be prepared for adverse events or conditions that our brains aren’t expecting. Snow, ice or frost, a broken limb or an acorn – anything unexpected can cause our feet to slip. A heavy wind can impact the opening of the door, so having something to hold on to becomes important.
We made three “improvements” to our deer stands this year that we hope will help prevent another
fall. First, we installed a second handrail to the 10-step ladder; it bolted right on. Second, we installed stair nosing/edging to the steps and the landing – using self-drilling screws. Third, we added a heavy-duty door pull to the inside of the door, to provide a grip for the left hand after it leaves the handrail – when stepping up and into the blind. The door pull is large enough to accommodate a gloved hand.
Even when we feel pretty safe about getting in and out of our blind without our gear, it’s important to have a solid approach to getting our gear up the stairs and into the blind, and then back down. We should have nothing in our hands! Backpacks and carry straps can be very helpful, and sometimes we might need to make a second trip up the steps, or use a rope. When possible, we put our gear in the blind in the daylight under optimal conditions.
The above safety ideas apply to the blind itself, but safety also includes ventilation for heaters and loading our gun after we’re set up in the blind and unloading it before we climb down. Hope your next deer season is a safe one.