"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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Deer Stand Safety 
Copyright © 2007 by Bill Scifres

So you think that old deer stand waist safety belt puts you in the sunshine, do you?  Well, put on your thinking cap, and think again. It can be just the beginning of your problem . . . a stopgap, if you want it in plain, everyday English.

The deer blind safety belt didnít just exactly go out of style (safetywise) with high-button shoes, but maybe it should have. Itís passe now. The thing, if you want to survive a deer stand fall, is the full-body harness, or a device that will get your body to ground safely and in short order.

You have much less than a minute to get there if you are wearing a safety belt. You can dilly-dally a bit with a full body harness . . . parachute style.

This, of course is important to your physical well being because here in the Hoosier state we have somewhere in the vicinity of eight, ten or more deer stand falls reported annually, one to four fatally. Kinda scary, isnít it, to realize you could be a statistic? Scarier still is the fact that many deer stand falls are never reported.

Notwithstanding the fact that some old safety belts--even makeshifts--still will be used (few manufacturers put them out anymore). If they are to be utilized, some provisions should be made in advance of trouble to lower yourself to Mother Earth gently and quickly. This should be done even with a full-body harness.

Letís face it. Getting into a full-body harness is a test in reverse . . . even for a Houdini. For safety concerns, it is worth the effort. Once the straps are mastered, it gets easier. I wonít touch the details with a ten-foot pole.

The thing to remember is that falls often occur in climbing to, and descending from, a deer stand. So vigilance and care are the watchwords of safety from the minute you reach your stand site to the time you walk back to your car.

HANDICAPPED HUNT--Newport Chemical Depot will stage Deer Hunting Days for Handicapped Hunters two weekends:  Nov.  3 and 4 and Nov. 10 and 11. Both archery and firearms hunting will be allowed.

Only one weapon will be allowed per hunter; therefore, each hunter must apply for either an archery or a firearms hunt on one or both weekends.

Participants must attend one of two scheduled mandatory safety/security meetings at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Nov. 2 at the depot. No hunting or weapons will be allowed on the depot Nov. 2.

Eligible hunters must be at least 18 years old, possess a Hunter with a Disability permit issued by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, pass a background check, pay a $5 per hunter user fee per weekend and be accompanied by at least one but not more than two non-hunting helpers. Two handicapped hunters may also apply with one non-hunting helper. Helpers must also pass a background check and attend a depot safety/security meeting. Each person participating must also possess a working cell phone. 

Applications must be received no later than Oct. 24. Mailing instructions are provided on the application. Applications and further information may be downloaded at www.cma.army.mil/newport.aspx (scroll to the "highlights" section at the bottom of the page) or obtained at the Newport Chemical Stockpile Outreach Office, at 306 South Main St. in Clinton from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For more information regarding the deer hunt, call Phil Cox at (765) 245-4324.

BEAUTY GALORE--Still screaming their heads off, though most other wildflowers have pulled summer stakes and hied off to never-never land, are the back road chicories. Their beautiful powder blue heads seem to say: ďWe wanna be state flowers!Ē    

All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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