To Own or Not To Own a Firearm, That Is the Question

The pandemic saw an increase in weapons purchases, particularly gun sales. The urge to purchase a weapon during a national emergency is understandable, but it is necessary to question the logic or rationale behind the decision.  

For many people, the assumption is that a national crisis will increase violent crimes; therefore, owning a firearm will make it easier to protect your home and deter crime, right? The answer is not so cut and dry.  

People on both sides of the gun control debate often cite studies that imply either the successes of gun ownership or the perils. How can owning a gun makes you both safer and put you in more danger? To get to the bottom of the debate, it is necessary to examine the studies used to support each argument and take a commonsense approach to gun ownership.

Flawed Studies Populate Misconceptions

Owning a gun for home defense is not necessarily a bad thing, but if you purchase a firearm because you panic about violent break-ins or attacks, you might be worrying about nothing. Violent home invasions are exceedingly rare, with the number dropping drastically over the past 20 years.  

Even if you do experience a violent break-in, owning a firearm does not eliminate the risk of personal injury, and in most cases, it leads to a more violent interaction. According to an analysis of several national studies, researchers David Hemenway, the director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, and Sara Solnick, an economist at the University of Vermont, people who threaten an intruder or attacker with a gun were more likely to become victims of assaults resulting in injury than if they just ran away or called the police. 

Some readers might find it shocking that owning a firearm could actually encourage an attack because they have likely heard the statistic about guns used for self-defense 2.5 million times per year or the saying that “good guys with guns” save lives. Unfortunately, while popular, the statistic and phrase are based on a flawed ‘95 study by criminologists Marc Gertz and Gary Kleck.  

Kleck and Gertz extrapolated the 2.5 million number from a survey of 5,000 Americans. Most researchers argue the study was too ambiguous and that the authors gravely overestimated the number of times a firearm is used in home defense. Recent research suggests that guns are rarely used for self-defense, speculating the number to be around 100,000 times annually, only 4% of the original touted estimate. 

Safety With or Without a Firearm

Are you safer with or without a firearm? The answer is dependent on your knowledge of weapons safety and your skill with a gun.  

Without the proper training, a gun owner is more likely to injure themselves or a family member. When you factor in the number of people purchasing firearms because they are worried about a national crisis leading to increased violent crime, the risk of injury goes up. Paranoia and guns do not mix. 

However, if you are a responsible gun owner, there might be a benefit to having a gun in your home. Responsible ownership means you have adequate firearms training, understand safe handling, and have appropriate locks, safes, or other storage solutions.  

How do you feel about gun ownership? Does a firearm make you safer, or does it increase your risks? Comment below.

CategoriesHome Defense

The Top 4 Home Security Systems of 2021

Home defense is about more than self-defense training and weapons. It’s also about home security systems. There are several systems worth considering when wanting the best for your homestead.

1. Vivint

While there is no denying that Vivint is among the most expensive home security systems of 2021, it is also one of the most feature-rich. With a base price of $599, Vivint requires a professional installation to make the most of its smart home security system functions.  

The system is compatible with other Vivint devices and some third-party devices; it is an excellent all-around system. Using it to access security cameras, video doorbells, smart locks, and garage door openers, the owner of a Vivint system will have complete security control in the palm of their hands. 

Many people are put off by the system’s initial cost, but the company does offer financing options. The system can be financed over a 42- or 60-month term with no interest or money down for the qualified applicant. However, paying upfront will enter you into a long-term month-to-month monitoring contract.

2. SimpliSafe

If you prefer the Do-It-Yourself option, you might want to try SimpliSafe. The SimpliSafe system is affordable, easy to install, and easy to use. However, you might not get as many bells and whistles as you do with Vivint. 

With a base price of $299, the DIY leader in home security already has a leg up on Vivint. With over 3 million active customers, you cannot deny the system’s popularity. SimpliSafe also has a competitive advantage when it comes to professional monitoring fees. Starting at $14.99 per month, the company offers one of the lowest pricing strategies among home security services. 

SimpliSafe appeals to those who want to avoid a monthly contract and appreciate the ease of use. However, if you have other devices you were hoping to connect to the security system, the system is a downer. SimpliSafe is only compatible with SimpliSafe products.

3. Cove

If you are looking for the affordability of SimpliSafe and the professional assistance of Vivint, Cove is your best option. The one drawback of Cove is that it does not allow self-monitoring; users must purchase a professional monitoring plan, starting at $14.99. 

You can install the system yourself to save some money, but there is also the option for a professional installation. The base price for the system is $219. As with most systems on this list, including the first two, there is no contract. 

Cove is a stripped-down system, which allows it to be one of the most affordable security systems. If you are looking for more bells and whistles or device options, you will not appreciate the simplicity of Cove’s design. 

4. Frontpoint

Frontpoint is not cheap. The base price is about $327, and the monthly fees are $49.99, higher than most other systems. However, the company does not lock you into a contract and uses professional-grade equipment. 

Even though the company uses pro-grade equipment, the system is DIY-friendly and does not require professional installation. The company uses the same supplier as Brinks Home Security and other prominent installers.  

While the monthly plans are more costly than other systems, all the plans include complete access to the full capabilities of the Frontpoint app. Another plus to purchasing through Frontpoint is that you do not have to be the homeowner and do not need to go through a credit check. If you are looking for quality equipment and easy installation, Frontpoint is worth a look. 

Do you know of any other home security systems? Comment below.


Pandemic Realities and More Give Rise To a New Prepper Movement

As a prepper, you know there is a certain stigma attached to what some deem paranoia. While legitimate preppers know there is nothing irrational about preparing for worst-case scenarios, the general public has been skeptical of the practice for decades until now. Recent stresses to national, global, and physical wellbeing have provided evidence of inadequate governance, healthcare, and economic systems. The things people considered bedrock to their existence shifted in a single year, allowing perspectives to change and for instinct to take the helm. 

The COVID-19 pandemic provided the entire global population with a view of what is possible when you do not prepare: food and supply shortages, job loss, economic instability, etc. While preparation will not end a pandemic or divert a natural disaster, it is paramount to your survival and level of comfort during such events. The growing popularity and interest in prepping is proof that stigmas of lunacy or paranoia are in the past, that prepping is and always has been a sound survival strategy. 

COVID-19 Led the Charge

You cannot deny the influence COVID-19 has had on the recent momentum in the prepper community. The pandemic created and took advantage of gaping holes in national strategy and global governance. While the interdependence of states is something the U.S. prides itself on, the lack of cohesion and the explosion of political unrest allowed for a potentially containable situation to be marred in personal interest and baseless crusades. 

Upon entry into the U.S., COVID-19 flourished and caused mayhem. Workers were laid off, losing wages and health insurance because of mandated government shutdowns. Small businesses and companies went bankrupt because they did not have the necessary infrastructure to cope with forced digital conversion. Food and supply shortages ran rampant as supply chains and logistic sectors struggled to keep up with rising demands and worker shortages. Though 2020 is in the rearview, the pandemic is still cruising along with no predictable end in sight. 

While the pandemic demonstrates the need for preparation, it is certainly not the only reason for people to embrace prepping. COVID-19 provided a glimpse into global catastrophe and highlighted some of the pervading weaknesses in government, infrastructure, and current economic theory, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. To get a glimpse of the whole glacier, you need to deep dive into socioeconomic, sociopolitical, and even ecological theory.

Government, Inequality, and Climate Change Continue the Pressure

The ongoing threat of climate change, rising inequality, the ailments of late-stage capitalism, and the failing of post-World War II systems are all examples of threats to the status quo. While previous decades could sit idle and bask in the rise of industry, current generations are left holding onto rusting economic strongholds, hoping they last until a solution or alternative option is found. 

Traditional systems are no longer capable of sustaining the exponential growth of populations, and capitalism can no longer deliver on the dreams of wealth and equality — if it ever did. Prepping is about the only thing a sane individual can do to survive in the predictable struggles to come. It is the only way to hold onto hope as the nation and world attempt to right the unstable foundation created through several past generations of abuse and complacency. 

After years of stereotypes, preppers can now feel vindicated, but that is about the only thing to celebrate. The world is upon a great reckoning, and hopefully, leaders and governments will come to their senses in time to avoid an even greater catastrophe than the ongoing pandemic. 

Do you agree or disagree? Comment below.


Go-Bag Pitfalls: Top 3 Mistakes That Novice and Experienced Preppers Alike Make

As a prepper, you know that one of the most important tools in your arsenal is your bugout bag. In its simplest form, a bugout bag — also known as a “go-bag” — is a bag of the survival gear you will need to overcome whatever obstacles post-apocalyptic life throws your way. Though preparing a bugout bag is one of the first and most basic of all the prepping steps, even the most experienced preppers get it wrong. On one end of the spectrum, you have preppers who overthink things and end up packing way too much. On the other end, you have the over-confident preppers who pack too little. It’s important that you learn from both types of preppers’ mistakes and get your bag just right. Below are the top three go-bag mistakes to avoid.

Mistake #1: Packing Too Little Food or Water

The amount of food and water you will need depends on how far from your bugout location you are, in days. A good rule of thumb is one gallon of water and 3,500 calories of food per day per adult. Though water is non-negotiable, if you know that there is a fresh water source along the route, you may be able to get away with slightly less than one gallon per day. However, carry along with you collapsible water bottles for extra storage and a water purification system.

As for food … Try to select foods that have a high caloric content but that take up very little space. Think protein bars, MREs, dehydrated meats and nuts. Food items should also have long shelf lives and be easy to prepare.

Mistake #2: Stuffing Your Bag With Unnecessary Items

Overpacking a bugout bag with non-essentials is one of the biggest mistakes that both novice and experienced preppers make. When packing, follow the rule of the five Cs:

  • Combustion: Pack a portable stove, lighter, lighter fluid and fire starters.
  • Cutting: Carry a knife for both tactical reasons and self-defense.
  • Cover: Pack a form of shelter and enough clothing to protect yourself from extreme weather conditions.
  • Cordage: Paracord — preferably 550 strength — can be used for everything from pitching a tent to hanging a hammock.
  • Container: Multi-purpose containers will come in handy for water storage, cooking and more.

Other than food items and items that fall within one of the above five categories, the only other essentials you will need are personal and legal documents. Keep these documents safe in a waterproof bag.

Mistake #3: Picking the Wrong Bag

When it comes to the bugout bag itself, there are several mistakes you want to avoid. The first is buying a bag before you gather its contents. Identify what you need first and then select a bag big enough to hold just those items. If you buy a bag that has room to spare, you will be tempted to overpack it, as many preppers are.

The second mistake is buying a bag that is too conspicuous. Much of your survival will boil down to your ability to blend in so as not to attract unnecessary attention. Though tactical and camouflage bags are best suited for survival situations, they may draw attention in urban areas. Consider your surroundings and select a bag based on what you know about them.

Finally, make sure that your bag, once full, does not weigh more than 25% of your body weight. If it does, re-evaluate its contents and either eliminate items or trade them out for lighter alternatives.

Getting your bugout bag just right will greatly increase your odds of success in a survival situation. Though much more goes into preparing your go-bag than what is mentioned here, avoiding the aforementioned mistakes is a great start.


Are Knife Building Kits Worth It?

When you want to get into a new hobby, a kit is usually the way to go. Professional kits typically come with all the raw materials you need to complete a task, like beer making. However, when it comes to knife-making, there doesn’t seem to be a kit that genuinely teaches you the ropes of bladesmithing. 

Making a knife requires working with raw metals, cutting them, shaping them, and polishing and finishing them. It is followed by customizing a handle to hold the blade. Therefore, a legitimate knife-making kit should touch on topics like heat treatments: hardening and tempering.

The Problem With Commercial Knife Kits

The primary issue with commercial knife kits is that they are not knife-making kits; instead, they are handle-making or connecting kits. Most production kits come with a blade that is already finished and only requires a handle. While that might be enough for some hobbyists, it is not knife-making. 

When you factor in the cost of some of these so-called kits, you are forced to wonder if the experience is worth the price.  For instance, Man Crates Knife Making Kit is $149.99 and only requires the consumer to put the handle on the blade. Obviously, you are paying for the materials, but shouldn’t the experience count for something? 

Knife-making is a true craft and trade. It is challenging to create a kit that can adequately put together the entire process for consumer purchase, but at the same rate, isn’t it false to call a handle attachment kit a knife-making kit? These two tasks are not the same. 

It is important to note that most manufacturers creating and distributing knife kits create universally loved knives. The companies make quality products, but to compare the kits to a challenging trade is somewhat unbelievable.

How To Learn Real Knife Making

Instead of spending your hard-earned money on a kit that does not show you the ropes of a new skill, consider taking a class or purchasing instructional materials that actually walk you through the process of making a knife.  

If you want to learn how to make a knife, you need to learn how to select the steel. You need to know how to cut, shape, grind, and sharpen the blade. Then, learn how to heat treat the blade for durability before moving on to creating the handle and shaping it to a profile you prefer. 

Take a course in bladesmithing or blacksmithing. Many states and communities have workshops or classes. You can also look to local businesses or colleges to see if there are any programs, lectures, or mentorships. 

While you might not want to become a knife manufacturer, you deserve more than a knife-making kit. People interested in bladesmithing wish to learn how to make the blade, not attach a handle.  

There might be some kits worthwhile, and if you are only interested in mounting a blade to a handle, then a kit might be all you’re after. Still, if you want more, then look for professional instruction from a skilled craftsman. 

Have you ever used a knife-making kit? What was your experience, and was it worth it? Leave a comment.


6 Tips To Avoid Prepping Regrets

Whatever your reasons for getting into prepping, it is necessary to take a breath before rushing into building a stockpile. Many first-time preppers dive in headfirst and eventually find themselves in the deep end without floaties to keep their head above the proverbial water. 

If you rush into prepping without a plan, you will end up making significant and costly mistakes, leading to regrets and possible family disagreements. Therefore, when starting, follow six tips to avoid future regrets.   

1. Build Slow and Save Money

It is common for newcomers to feel overwhelmed and like they are miles behind other preppers on the journey to home defense and efficiency. Those anxious feelings are dangerous because they often lead to impulse buying and building a massive inventory over a short period.  

Building fast means spending money quickly. You do not want to use all your cash or take on credit card debt to build a stockpile. You want to save money and build an inventory slowly. The key is to do each sustainably. 

2. Store More Water and Store It Proper

The general rule regarding water is to store at least one gallon of water per person for each day of an emergency. However, you might want to keep more to be on the safe side. It would also be best if you did not store the water in old milk jugs. While these containers are convenient, it is nearly impossible to get all milk residue out, and the plastic is likely not meant for long-term storage. 

3. Buy Food Your Family Will Eat

Too many beginners focus on the shelf life of food that they do not bother to think about what their family likes to eat. While MREs and other shelf-stable foods might taste good to you, they are an acquired taste. Make sure you consider other family members when you make food purchases, or you might be bunkered with some hangry individuals.  

4. Buy a Variety of Food

Many preppers assume that the only shelf-stable food items are canned goods. However, there are several things you can buy, from canned to dry to freeze-dried foods. Also, you can have a more convenient stockpile of items that last a couple of months, allowing you to have even more variety. Too many canned goods are also not good for you because of the sodium and preservatives.  

5. Rotate Your Inventory

When designing your emergency pantry, make sure you have an inventory system in place. You want to keep detailed records of expiration dates, allowing yourself time to use items before they expire. If you do not have a thorough inventory, you risk wasting a lot of valuable food and leaving your family ill-prepared in a legitimate emergency. 

6. Pack Several Bug Out Bags

Aside from having an emergency shelter with a stocked pantry, it would be best if you packed several bug-out bags. Each family member should have their own bag, and the bags should be filled with items specific to each member’s needs. The packs should include food, water, first-aid, medication, and entertainment. Store bags in several locations so they are always accessible, regardless of the emergency. 

The above list is not extensive, but it is a start. For more information, check out more prepping and survival blogs. Additionally, look to the BlackOpsTac community. Do you have any advice for your fellow preppers? Leave a comment. 


6 Ways To Keep Your Supply Chain Localized and Thriving Amid Disruptions

The pandemic saw many companies and customers running out of essential supplies, and in many ways, it is still affecting supply chains and production. While you might not be as invested in corporate inventories as your own, you can take a few lessons from business owners and managers.
As a prepper, you never want to be at the will of business owners, inflation, or other issues that can drain your survival stockpile. Therefore, you need to find ways to protect your supply chain during a pandemic or natural or manmade disaster. It would be best if you looked at the six-step supply chain survival playbook of big businesses.

1. Build an Inventory

Regardless of the amount of work you put into designing the perfect individual supply chain, it will be susceptible to error and outside influence. Supply chains are dependent on numerous people and production lines, meaning any chain can fall victim to various issues. Therefore, the first thing you need to do to protect your supply is to build an inventory.
Your stockpile should include between three and six months of supplies, including paper, medical, and food goods. You will also need a supply of drinkable water or tools for cleaning and sterilizing it.

2. Conduct a Vulnerability Audit

Where do you buy your supplies from? Do you use a local grocery store, a friendly farmer, or do you depend on something else? Are any of these people, places, or sites vulnerable to supply loss; for example, how can outside actors or situations affect the logistics of local operations? Knowing the vulnerabilities of the people and places you depend on can help you prepare for future threats.

3. Locate Backup Suppliers of Essential Goods

It is best to find backup suppliers when it comes to essential goods — food, water, medicine, etc. Most likely, you have several grocers in your area. You likely also have access to multiple pharmacies. Creating a list with all the potential backup suppliers can help you avoid future issues should one of your trusted stores have empty shelves.

4. Diversify Your Supply Base

Businesses typically diversify their supply base, meaning they do not depend on one supplier for every piece of their inventory; doing so increases the odds of maintaining normal operations during emergencies. You can do the same thing; for example, finding multiple grocery stores with comparable prices can protect you against low inventory concerns. Essentially, you do not have to be a one-store, loyal shopper. Spread out your business.

5. Look for Outside Supply Options

While localization is key to keeping your inventory healthy, sometimes it pays to reach outside the local market. Many online businesses have fantastic savings opportunities for repeat customers. Suppose you sign up for repeat deliveries with manufacturers or businesses. In that case, it means your shopping needs are a priority, meaning when supplies are low, you often get the first dibs on products and merchandise because you are a consistent customer.

6. Create a Backup Plan for Your Backup Plan (Prepping 101)

As with any prepping strategy, you need to have a backup plan for your backup. Having a list of dependable local suppliers is an excellent first step, but it is not enough to keep you stocked during a pandemic or disaster. Build an inventory, and don’t be afraid to look for other local options, even looking beyond if necessary.
How would you protect your local supply chain? Leave a comment below.


Campfire Building and Fire Rope

All survivalists know the importance of fire. Few things are more important than the warmth, utility, and protection of a well-made and proper burning campfire. Some of the many benefits of a stable burn include: 

  • Water purification 
  • Means of signaling 
  • Predator defense 
  • Wound cleaning 
  • Light source 
  • Warmth 

While the necessity of a fire is not up for debate, the way you make it is, with many hardcore survivalists preferring to hone their skills than use available tools. A fire starter should be a part of any survivalist’s tool kit. Fire starters are a cakewalk to use compared to other ignition methods, and they are dependable. Today, campers and survival experts can use fire starter rope, which is easier to carry and deploy than previous options, and it provides a quick burn. 

What Is a Fire Starter Rope?

A fire starter rope is typically made of jute infused with high-quality wax. When used with Ferro rods, the rope ignites instantly. Typical rope sets will include three or more lengths of rope — you do not need to use an entire length of rope to start a fire. You only need to cut off a small portion from a single length to find success.  

The real beauty of using a rope fire starter is the wax-infused material makes these starters weatherproof, meaning you can use them amid any weather condition or storm. Because of the material’s versatility, it is invaluable to campers, hunters, preppers, and survivalists alike. 

How Do You Use the Fire Starter Rope?

Using a fire rope is not challenging. You want to cut off a small section of the material and unwind the braided end. It would help if you continued to twist the fibers until they separate, creating a fine and fluffy appearance. Once the rope is frayed, you will want to place the Ferro rod tip close to it, allowing the sparks to fall directly onto the material. The fire rope should ignite without issues.
The amount of rope you will need will depend on the amount of dry kindling you have and the size of the fire you want. For larger fires, more fire rope is beneficial to achieve maximum burn in the shortest time. Additionally, more cord might be necessary if you do not have a lot of kindling.

Should You Depend on Fire Rope or Other Fire Starters?

While there is nothing wrong with using fire starters and other tools like flint and steel to create a quick and stable campfire, as any prepper and survivalist knows, you might not always have access to modern tools. Therefore, to ensure your safety in an emergency, you should practice friction-based alternatives to cover all your campfire bases. There are a few friction-based methods, but the most popular include: 

  1. Hand drill 
  2. Fire plow 
  3. Bow drill 

Take your time to educate yourself on these fire-building methods and others. Knowing multiple ways to build a fire means you will never be left out in the cold, literally. 

What tools do you depend on for building a campfire, and what pointers can you offer the community? Leave a comment below. 

CategoriesDisaster Response

7 Tips for Living in Your Car in an Emergency

You never know how an emergency will affect your life. While you might have a home right now, a wildfire or natural disaster could take it away tomorrow. Preppers understand the futility of permanence, which is why they always plan and organize for disaster. If you were forced to live out of your car tomorrow, would you know what you needed?

1. Food and Water

The primary items you will need include food and water. For food, you will likely want to focus on freeze-dried items. You can purchase less stable food items if you are lucky enough to have a car refrigerator and a camp stove. You will also need a cooler to store water. The cooler is essential because it protects against heating and the leaching of plastics.

2. Safety Essentials

When it comes to safety, the obvious purchase is a personal protection device. You can opt for pepper spray, a personal alarm, a firearm, or a knife. If you intend to carry a gun or a knife, look into state regulations and licensing requirements. Additionally, you will want to pack a first aid kit and any medications for you or loved ones staying with you.

3. Communication

A cellphone and computer are essential for communication. While many people do not realize it, you can purchase a power converter for your vehicle to charge devices without an adapter. Cell phones typically come with car chargers, but computers do not. Another option for receiving mail is to rent a P.O. box.

4. Temperature Control

When living in your car, you cannot always have the vehicle running. First, it costs too much, and second, there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Therefore, when staying in your car, you will want to invest in more practical means for staying cool or warm.

You can use a sleeping bag, wool blanket, emergency bivvy, or hand-warmers to stay warm. You also have the option of using public buildings or businesses like fast-food restaurants, malls, or grocery stores.

Staying cool is a little more challenging, but you still have the option of going inside a business or public building. Additionally, you can use car shades, curtains, and covers to block the sun. It would be best if you also tried to park in the shadow of trees and buildings.

5. Portable Toilet

A portable toilet is essential when living in your car. While you might be in an area with access to restrooms, there is bound to be a time when a portable option is your best option, especially at night when most businesses are closed.

6. Hygiene

Staying clean is a challenge when living in your car, but it is not impossible. With a bit of imagination, you can still have access to showers. Several options for remaining clean while living in your car include:

  • Gym memberships
  • Campsite showers
  • Truckstop showers
  • Solar showers
  • Wet wipes

7. Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep in your car can be a struggle. If you do not have the right tools and resources for a comfortable night’s sleep, you will face potential health consequences. The items you need for a decent night’s sleep include:

  • Tri-fold mattress
  • Pillow
  • Sleeping bag
  • Wool blanket
  • Earplugs
  • Carbon monoxide detector

8. Parking

You want to capitalize on free parking whenever possible, but do not put yourself in a dangerous situation. Park in well-lit areas and use campgrounds if you can — national forests offer free camping and parking.

Do you know of any other tips for those living out of their vehicles? Leave a comment.


Considerations To Make Before Purchasing a Tree Stand This Hunting Season

Tree stand hunters have a distinct advantage over those who hunt on foot: they sit above the deer’s field of view. Additionally, elevated hunters enjoy the benefit of a somewhat aerial view, providing more opportunities for harvesting wildlife. 

While a tree stand is more beneficial than hunting on foot, you want to find a suitable stand for your hunting location. A stand that is too large, weak, or plain uncomfortable will not provide for a successful or happy hunting trip. There are several factors you should consider when selecting your tree stand this hunting season.

Considering Style

When looking into tree stands, you will likely come across four main styles: hang-on, ladder, climbing, and tripod stands. Hang-on stands are often the most affordable option but not the most comfortable. These stands attach to the tree using straps or chains and are typically a little shaky. You will also need to purchase climbing sticks or steps for access. 

Ladder stands are among the most stable because of the heavy ladder base. However, the stability comes at a price because two people will need to set the stand in place. Unlike some other types, the ladder stand comes in single and double configurations.

Climbing tree stands are not as stable as ladder options, but they are more convenient and easy to carry. The stand is a two-piece, and it is used to climb the tree.

A tripod stand is a freestanding option, and it is best used when there are no adequate trees in the area. While the construction of these stands provides greater stability than the other options, it is cumbersome.

Size, Weight Capacity, and Comfort

When looking into available stands, consider your anticipated use. Will you be hunting alone or with a partner? While a single-wide ladder stand might be efficient for you, a double is a necessity if you’re hunting with a partner. Additionally, a wider stand might be more comfortable in general.

Comfort is a significant concern when hunting. In most situations, you find a spot and stay there for hours, waiting for that buck to wander by, but if you’re sitting in a small stand with an uncomfortable seat, you might miss the deer because you had to stretch your legs or decided to return to camp early.

One aspect of a stand that contributes to comfort is the weight capacity. If you weigh over 300 lbs and are sitting 15 feet above the forest floor in a tree stand made for 250 lbs or less, you will not feel safe, secure, or comfortable. Always purchase a stand that can handle your weight; it’s a safety issue.

Safety and Accessories

Before you put yourself into the trees, consider safety. While tree stands provide straps, chains, or other connection methods, you should also find additional ways to secure yourself to the tree. A safety harness should be a part of every elevated hunter’s tool bag.

Additionally, don’t forget the purpose of an elevated position: to get a clean shot. You can usually purchase a shooting rest for greater stability and accuracy when shooting a gun, crossbow, or muzzleloader. The rest also provides an additional safety measure.

Elevated hunting is fun and exciting, often providing unique vantage points for hunting. However, you should not select your stand without considering your preferences and needs.

Do you have any other pointers for first-time elevated hunters? Leave a comment.

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