Tips & Tactics

Get a Grip on Tree Steps

Get a Grip on Tree Steps

By Mitch Wagnon

Have you ever slipped or come close to falling off a ladder rung or tree step? I have, and it's not a fun experience. Losing a foothold or handhold almost always happens in the dark, when we hunters do most of our climbing.

Rain or even heavy dew can cause climbing steps to become super slick, but I’ve found a quick fix I’d like to share with my fellow hunters and Buckmasters fans.

Go to your local hardware store and buy a can of spray-on rubber coating.

You’ve probably seen this stuff advertised on TV. It’s the kind that comes in a can, like spray paint. It’s best to get the kind that has a gritty texture, often used to treat truck beds.

Get a Grip on Tree StepsFirst, clean your metal screw-in steps, climbing sticks or wooden ladder rungs really well with a damp cloth. After the rungs or steps dry, spray a thick layer of the rubber coating. It’ll provide a rough, gritty texture after it dries.

Some hunters use this coating on the platforms of their stands as well, to gain better footing.

It’s amazing how something so inexpensive can make your climbing so much safer and easier.

Editor’s Note, by Tim H. Martin

Along these lines, here are two hardcore climbing tips I use for deer stands with tree steps or ladder rungs. I learned these from a mountaineering course I took in college, but they transfer directly into the hunting world.

Rule 1: Always climb with three points of contact on the steps: two hands and a foot, or one hand and two feet.

Rule 2: Always keep at least one handhold above your head. Any time both grips are below your head, you are asking for trouble. With at least one hand gripping up high, the odds of correcting a slip are far better.

— Photo Courtesy of Mitch Wagnon

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Copyright 2016 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2015 by Buckmasters, Ltd