Prusik knot for a treestand safety line for hunters

How to Make a Treestand Safety Line

Legendary Whitetails 8.2.2016

“Calm down buddy. Let Daddy figure out what is wrong with him then we can figure out what to do,” I spoke slowly and in shortened breath. I felt all over my face and head. There was a little blood coming from my eye, but not my ears mouth or nose. I wiggled my fingers and moved my arms. I rubbed my ribs, chest and pressed on my abdomen and hips. Seems to be ok. I tried wiggling my toes. No wiggles. I tried moving my right leg, nothing. Then my left, nothing. I was worried that I had broken my back but knew that I could be rescued from that. “Ok bud, it’s just my legs. Daddy is gonna live so don’t be scared. I need you to be strong and I need you to go get the four wheeler”. 

This is a direct excerpt from Justin Lanclos as he detailed his horrific treestand accident in an online article for Louisiana Bowhunter. Lucky for Justin, he survived and is still around to take care of his family.  He could have just as easily fell to his death on the forest floor right in front of his son.  His message is clear, and that’s to take treestand safety to the next level.

Personally, I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty safe hunter.  My safety harness is the first thing attached to the tree on every hunt and I’m always tied in with my lineman’s rope while hanging any stand.  If there is one area I’ve skipped on it’s being secured during the climb itself.  Yes, there’s plenty of good safety lines out there, but the cost of them has always kept me from placing one in every stand.  In my opinion, every treestand company should be required to include a safety line with every treestand purchase. Instead you can buy them separately for roughly $30 a pop.  Now I’d hate to put a price on safety, but $30 for a piece of rope!? Sure, if you’re only buying one it’s not a big deal, but the majority of hunters I know have at least 5+ stands and that can add up quickly!

I’ve got roughly 10 or so stands up and after reading Justin’s story, wanted to get more serious about safety.  Hunting is the world to me, and the last thing I want to have happen is for a hunting accident to take the world from me, so I set out to make my own treestand safety lines.  With almost zero time invested I was able to make safety lines for all of my treestands.  Here’s how you can make them too.

(*Note: This is just an instructional video on how to set up a homemade safety system.  Supplies used should be properly rated.)


1 – Tie a loop using an overhand knot in one end of the larger leader rope.  This loop will be used to feed the rest of the rope through and down, while the rope pulls tight around the top of the tree.

Treestand Safety Line Main Line Knot

2 – Cut a two-foot piece of smaller diameter rope to form a prusik knot.  Once cut, tie the ends together to form a loop using an overhand knot. Pull tight and make sure the knot does not slip or roll.

Prusik knot for a treestand safety line

3 – Form a prusik knot by wrapping it around the main leader rope 3 times. It should look like the picture and should cinch tight if pulled on the long loop.

Prusik knot tied on treestand safety line

4 – Hang above your treestand the first time you go up in it.  Hang the leader rope by wrapping it around the tree and feeding the end through the loop.  Tie the bottom off to the base of the tree or your sticks so the rope has tension for you to slide the knot up as you ascend.

Installing a safety line on my treestand

5 – Use this safety line in conjunction with your full body safety harness to remain clipped in the entire time you leave the ground.  The only time you should be unclipped is during the one second you unclip from the safety line and clip into your regular harness line.

Other Notes:

  • Rope for the prusik knot should be smaller than the main rope so that it cinches tight should a fall occur.
  • You can put 2 prusik knots on the same line if you’re hunting with more than one person.
  • Price will vary depending on the quality of rope you buy.
  • The safety lines should be removed each season and stored inside.  Be sure to inspect them before using them.

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