Loggy Bayou Climbing Tree Stands
This is a continuation of application Ser. No. 08/848, 913, filed May 1, 1997, U.S. Pat. No. 6, 082, 492, issued Jul. 4, 1980.BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Climbing tree stands are very popular with hunters and photographers of wildlife, and provide a very effective way to stay in an unobtrusive elevated position in a relatively comfortable and safe manner. While it is recommended that users of such tree stands always have a safety belt connected to them when climbing a tree with the tree stand, or when stationary in the tree stand up in the tree, climbing the tree with the safety belt attached is a very time consuming and cumbersome process because the flexible safety belt tends to interfere with the climbing action of the tree stand. This is frustrating enough that most hunters or photographers do not use a safety belt when climbing, but rather attach the safety belt only once actually in the tree (when climbing has stopped). However according to a survey by Deer and Deer Hunting magazine about half of the falls associated with tree stands occur when the user is ascending to or with the stand, or descending from or with the stand. Therefore it is very important for safety purposes that a safety belt be effectively employed even when climbing.
According to the present invention a tree stand safety belt is provided which overcomes the problems associated with the prior art constructions which interfere with climbing movement of the tree stand. This tree stand safety belt according to the invention does not significantly interfere with the climbing action of the tree stand, so that most users of tree stands will in fact use the safety belt while ascending or descending. Also the tree stand safety belt according to the invention can be curled up when not in use for easy storage, and transported along with the tree stand. The advantageous results according to the invention are accomplished primarily by providing a stiffening element at a central portion of the belt which prevents flopping action of the belt that can potentially be caught in the frame of the tree stand during climbing, and/or by providing means for releasably attaching the belt to at least one of the side supports of the tree stand upper frame.
According to one aspect of the present invention a tree stand safety belt is provided comprising the following elements: A belt body comprising a flexible web of cloth like material and having first and second ends. A loop formed at the first end of the belt body that allows the second end to pass through. An attachment device at at least one of the ends of the belt body that allows attachment to a tree stand user. And, a stiffening element at a central portion of the belt body between the first and second ends that stiffens the web to facilitate climbing of a tree with a tree stand without significantly interfering with climbing movement of the tree stand, while allowing the belt body to be curled up when not in use.
The stiffening element preferably comprises a chain, typically a stainless steel metal chain, connected to the belt body. The chain may be connected to the belt body by a strip of webbing stitched to the belt body and sandwiching the chain between the strip and the belt body. The belt body typically comprises polyester, cotton, aramid, or nylon webbing between about 1.5-4 inches wide, and the strip of webbing is also preferably polyester, cotton, aramid, or nylon webbing having an effective width of about 1.5-4 inches. Alternatively the stiffening element may comprise a length of cable, such as steel cable, or a generally rectangular strip of metal or plastic, such as conventional metal or plastic banding, or multiple thicknesses of webbing, and/or a cellulose material such as cardboard (sandwiched between pieces of webbing). Preferably the stiffening element is not so rigid or undesirably shaped so that it precludes curling of the belt for each storage and transport.
The attachment device may comprise a clip connected to the belt body second end by a connection that allows adjustment of the effective belt length. The clip normally connects to a conventional harness worn by the user (which harness, per se, is not part of the present invention). The attachment device is typically at the second end of the belt body, and a loop is formed at the first end of the belt body that allows the second end to pass therethrough. The loop may be formed by fastening one part of the belt body to another at the first end. Alternatively attachment means, e.g. such as clips for connection to a harness D-ring, may be provided at both ends of the belt body, although by providing a loop the belt will be more positively secured to the tree if the user falls.
According to another aspect of the present invention a safety belt for use with a tree stand is provided comprising the following components: A belt body of polyester, nylon, cotton, or aramid webbing having a width of between about 1.5-4 inches, first and second ends, a central portion between the first and second ends, and a length. A chain stiffening element having a length less than about half of the belt body length and a width less than the width of the belt body. A strip of polyester, nylon, cotton, or aramid webbing having an effective width of between about 1.5-4 inches and a length greater than the chain length and less than the belt body length. And, the strip of webbing fixed to the belt body at the central portion of the belt body so that the chain stiffening element is sandwiched between the belt body and the strip of webbing. The details of the belt, and belt ends, and attachment of the belt to a tree stand, may be provided as set forth above.