Tree Lounge tree stands are robust, stable stands that can give decades of good service. As the hunting population is aging, more of these stands are showing up on E-bay and other places as used stands, but without the original Owner’s Manual. Users of these stands can get in serious trouble if they either assemble the stands improperly, try to climb too small a tree, attempt to stand on the fabric seat, overstress the stand because they are too heavy or any of a number of other causes. The problem is that the companies that made the stands are no longer in business and the manuals are not available. These are copyrighted products and cannot be reproduced directly without permission of the copyright owner, whoever that might be.
To help alleviate this problem I have produced a YouTube video at: http://youtu.be/ztj0VY1Rk_c which shows some pages of the manual as well as extracts of two previous YouTube videos that I did. These showed how to put the stand on a tree and how to backpack it. The easiest way to find these is to Google “Hovey Tree Lounge video” and that will bring up these as well as hunts that I did with the stands. The most recent video is deficient in that it does not have sufficient resolution for a person to be able to read the 20-items listed on the Caution sheet that is shown. These 20 items are listed below, along with my comments.
DO NOT BECOME A HUNTING STATISTIC!
“Climbing 20 to 30 feet or more above the ground is inherently dangerous because a fall from that height can produce serious injury or death. It isn’t possible to completely eliminate the danger of falling to the ground. You can minimize that danger by reading and viewing your Tree-Lounge owners manual and video tape. Follow the warnings and instructions and use common sense when using your Tree Lounge.”
I trust that statement got your attention. Below are the 20 cautions that they mentioned along with my comments.
1. Always grip the Tree-Lounge with both hands when your weight in not in the seat! Failure to do this can cause the Tree Lounge to slip down the tree trunk dislodging the hunter. (If no weight is on either the foot piece or upper piece with the sling seat, the Tree Lounge will grip the tree very weakly. When you take your feet out of the foot piece, for example, most of the time it will immediately slide down the tree until retained by the two straps that connect it to the upper piece with the seat.)
2. Always keep enough weight on the front side of the Tree Lounge to keep the “Lever-Grip” action activated. Failure to do this can cause the Tree Lounge to slip down the trunk of the tree dislodging the hunter. (See comment on no. 1.)
3. Never use the Tree Lounge without a safety harness, wear the Tree Lounge safety Harness from the time you begin your ascent until you return to the ground.
4. Do not use the Tree Lounge if you weigh more than 280 pounds. (People are seemingly getting larger every day. At the time my videos were made I weighed 185 pounds. The sling seat and the bow platform took my weight with no apparent problems, but all mechanical things will someday fail. Check your stand before each season and do not leave it out between seasons.)
5. Do not climb over 5-feet high until you have practiced and understand all facets of using the Tree Lounge. (Certainly do not take it out and under the pressure to kill a deer stick it on a tree for the first time. The removable bars that grip the tree go on top of the foot and upper pieces, and the straps must be put in the middle of the foot piece so that it can be retrieved when you start to descend from the tree.)
6. Do not climb trees unsuitable for the Tree Lounge. (Bad trees include those that are dead, crooked, swollen at the base, have obstructing limbs or knots, contain insect or animal nests, weak root attachments or have many smaller trees growing close to the larger tree’s trunk that will hang up the stand when you try to descend.)
7. Do not climb too high with the Tree Lounge. (The limit here is the diameter of the tree. As the tree becomes smaller the angle of the Tree Lounge decreases from about 80 degrees to below 45 degrees. Below 45 degrees the ability of the crossbars to hold the stand on the tree is decreased. Ultimately the stand will slip or you will reach a point where you cannot climb or go down.)
8. Do not climb with equipment. Always use your equipment cord to raise or lower your gun (unloaded), bow, pack or other equipment so that your balance and the gripping action cannot be adversely affected. (I use a long length of cord on a spool. On this I daisy-chain tie each piece of equipment on the same cord so that I raise them one after another when I get the stand in position. The last item up should be the gun or bow. This way the gun is less likely to be accidently knocked to the ground or fall from the gun rest while you are positioning the other items or bolting on accessories. Also, the less weight that you have on the stand when you climb, the easier it will be to manage.)
9. Do not use improper climbing techniques. Always use good judgment when climbing. (Don’t try to climb super fast or descend too fast. If you attempt to go down more than about 4-inches at the time your legs will be so bound up that you cannot raise them enough to free the foot piece to continue your descent.)
10. When climbing always be sure limbs, trees or other obstructions do not interfere with the “lever-grip” action of the Tree Lounge. If you cannot avoid limbs, trees, or other obstructions, descend and select another tree. (I once climbed a dead palm tree in the dark. Palms are weakly rooted anyway, and as soon as I discovered what I had done, I relocated to another tree. Tree Lounge stands are not easy for one person to put on a tree and there is the temptation to leave it on a bad tree and not move to another. Be safe and move the stand.)
11. Do not climb to a point where the Tree Lounge or the foot climber are below a 45-degree angle. (See comment on 7.)
12. Never try to move the back brace of the tree lounge or foot climber when climbing. (This would be an invitation to instant disaster. You cannot support the weight of the stand and the gear you have on it with one hand while attempting to hold it against the tree with your body. The worst result would be for you and both elements of the stand go crashing down the tree because you are attached to the upper part of the stand by the safety strap. The dynamics of this would probably have you hitting the ground head first. The next worse result would be for you to be suspended from the tree with the safety belt under your armpits, 35 pounds of aluminum hanging over your head and the foot piece still gripping the tree holding the entire assembly off the ground by two 1-inch nylon straps. The only recovery here is to pull yourself up the strap, grip the tree with both legs and arms, release the safety strap button and slide down the tree ripping and skinning flesh and bark as you go. Not good.)
13. Learn to use your wedge properly before attempting to climb more than 5-feet high. (This wedge is a 90-degree triangle. The base of the triangle is furthest from the ground the right-angle away from the tree and the inclined side against the trunk. Place the wedge above the bar and attach it to the tree with the bungee cord. Supporting the upper seat member with both hands push forward away from the tree raising it slightly to position it on the wedge to help level the stand. The stand will still be at a down angle, but the gun holders should now hold the gun without any problems. The bow platform may then be adjusted to where it is level by repositioning the bolts in the appropriate adjustment holes on either side of the bow platform.)
14. Before climbing, study, understand and practice the proper procedure for turning around in your Tree Lounge. (Use your knees rather than your feet to keep from ripping through the fabric of the sling seat. Even if you do not bow hunt, the bow stand option is very helpful in providing a step to get into the stand from the ground as well as in repositioning yourself in the stand.)
15. Keep fingers, hand and feet out of tree-gripping sections of the Tree Lounge. (I can’t quite envision how that might happen, but you sure do not want any body parts between those bars and the tree.)
16. Never stand up in the Tree Lounge seat. (The synthetic fabric is not designed for that kind of stress. I suspect that it would rip long-ways dropping you out feet first through the seat. That would be an exciting event.)
17. Do not climb utility poles or hunt when lightning may occur. (You can climb a metal pole with a Tree Lounge, and I know of some people who change street lights that way. However, in hunting situations you are surrounded by a lot of metal which will make a fine lightning rod.)
18. Never hunt from a Tree Lounge while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. (Never hunt, period, while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.)
19. Never lend or sell your Tree-Lounge to anyone that does not know now to use it property or has not read the Owner’s Manual and viewed the safety and use videos. (This was a nice thought, but many of the stands that are being sold do not have their manuals with them.)
20. Persons who do not have enough mental or physical ability should not use the Tree Lounge. (These are heavy stands, and it takes physical strength to put them on trees and climb with them. It goes much easier if two people are there to put the stands on the trees so that one can support the back of the seat section while the other adjusts the stand on the tree and attaches the cross bar.)