Know Before You Hunt
WARNING: Saddle hunting is an inherently dangerous activity that poses risk for significant bodily harm or death if all instructions are not followed, or if this product is used in a manner outside its intended purposes. By using this product, you agree to follow all instructions and warnings accompanied with the product and accept the risks that accompany saddle hunting.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE
- Only use an Ape Canyon Outfitters product after reading all warnings and instructions.
- The guidelines herein do not replace the need for climbing instruction by a skilled professional.
- The MAXIMUM GROSS WEIGHT LIMIT for all ACO saddles is 300 lbs including person and gear. Never exceed this weight limit.
- Every user is responsible for their own safety. Failure to ensure one’s own safety creates a higher degree of risk of injury or death.
- ACO strongly urges and advises that if anyone under the age of 18 uses ACO products, that they do so ONLY with full supervision by a trained, responsible, and alert adult.
- Any equipment that has sustained any critical stress such as from a fall, fall arrest, or other critical impact, even if the equipment appears unharmed, should be retired IMMEDIATELY.
- Users of any ACO product are strongly advised to inspect each and every component of their system completely before each and every use. This includes but is not limited to, the inspection of saddles, buckles, belts, ropes, carabiners, knots, splices, and any accessories or tools used. Retire and discontinue any product wherein you find cuts, abrasions, fraying, tears, stretching, decomposure, rips, holes, burns, runs, cracks, bulges, dry-rot, chemical or corrosive damage, or where this is any indication that the product has experienced any stress or degradation. If you find any damage whatsoever, you should retire the affected product and discontinue using it IMMEDIATELY.
- If you become seriously injured and/or lose consciousness, this saddle will not keep you in an upright position unless used in conjunction with a chest harness.
- Ultraviolet light radiation (usually from sunlight) can degrade materials over time. If your product becomes faded or discolored, retire the product immediately and discontinue use of the product.
- Ozone, a highly reactive and oxidative form of oxygen gas, can damage and/or degrade materials. Never allow any ACO product to be exposed to any elevated concentrations of ozone. There are products/devices that exist that generate ozone within an enclosed space that facilitate the removal of odors. However, you should never use these ozone-producing products on any ACO product or on any safety-critical piece of equipment. If any of your ACO products have been exposed to ozone gas, you should immediately discontinue use of said products.
- It is important to wear the correct size saddle and to use the correct equipment. Before hunting at elevation, try your saddle out at ground level or in a safe place to ensure that the fit is correct and comfortable.
- Secure grounded equipment only after you are secure in your saddle and connected safely to the tree with your tether. Firearms must be pulled up and unloaded with the chamber open and with the muzzle down for safety.
- Always read and understand the instructions and safety guidelines for any ropes, devices, climbing methods or platforms that are being used in conjunction with ACO products.
- You should only use ACO products if you are in good overall health. Persons using ACO products should have no fear of heights where such fear may impair their ability to operate safely. If you are prone to fainting, and/or if you have symptoms or indications of fainting, and/or if you have difficulty staying conscious at all times, then you should NOT use ACO products.
- Always ensure that you have familiarized yourself with how to use the equipment and always ensure that you have spent adequate time practicing with the equipment at ground level before you attempt to use it at elevation. Before attempting a climb, always ensure you are fully confident in the safety of the equipment and your ability to safely climb. This includes practicing in low-light conditions so that you are prepared for a real-world scenario. Users are advised to always be equipped with a hands-free light source such as a headlamp for use in low-light conditions
- Always ensure that your lineman rope is above waist level. Always keep your waist below where your lineman rope connects to the tree. If your lineman rope ever becomes positioned below waist level on the tree, the efficacy of your lineman rope becomes severely reduced and this increases your risk of serious injury or death.
- Always inspect each and every required stopper knot before and after each use to ensure that each device is safe to use.
- ALWAYS STAY SECURELY CONNECTED TO THE TREE AT ALL TIMES. NEVER LET GO OF THE TREE UNTIL YOUR CONNECTIONS ARE SAFE AND SECURE. DO NOT TAKE ANY UNNECESSARY RISKS.
- Never use any product that is not climbing rated when climbing and you have inspected it before use. The use of ropes, carabiners, and other safety-critical equipment that are not rated for climbing could result in serious bodily injury or death.
- Never use any ACO products for anything other than their intended purpose.
- Never make any alterations, repairs, or modifications to your Ape Canyon Outfitters products. Any alterations, repairs, or modifications to the equipment risks the structural integrity of the equipment which can lead to failure of the product. If the product shows signs of excessive wear or has failed inspection, retire the equipment IMMEDIATELY. If you attempt to repair any items, you accept full responsibility for the safety of said items.
- Never exceed the gross weight limit of any ACO product. The gross weight limit includes your body weight, the combined weight of all equipment, and the weight of any items you may bring with you on your climb. If you exceed the weight limit of any device, your risk of serious injury or death is significantly and dangerously increased. It is VERY unsafe and risky to exceed any weight limits.
- Never ascend or descend a tree without being connected securely to the tree at all times and without using the appropriate safety equipment in accordance with its intended use.
- Never rely on any platforms, climbing methods, or other equipment to safely support your weight without being securely connected to the tree with both your tether and lineman ropes.
- Never remove your lineman rope for any reason while climbing until you have safely reached your desired hunting height and until you are securely and safely connected to the tree with your tether rope.
- Never allow slack in your tether or lineman ropes. Allowing slack in your ropes substantially increases your risk of serious injury and death.
- Never climb above your tree tether. This allows for slack in your tether, and slack in your tether is very dangerous and could result in serious injury or death. Never allow slack in your tether.
- Never use any tree tether, lineman rope, or adjustable bridge without a stopper knot being securely tied in the free end of any such rope or rope assembly. Any rope whereon a friction hitch or other form of secondary rope or device is attached must have a stopper knot securely fashioned in it to prevent said hitches and devices from slipping off of the main tether, lineman, bridge, or other ropes.
- Never rely on any equipment that you have not inspected before using it.
- The accessory connection system (molle system) on all ACO saddles is designed to allow the user to hang/affix accessories to their saddle. Never use the molle system to support your body weight. Never clip to the molle system with your tether rope or lineman rope. The molle system WILL NOT support your body weight safely.
- Each ACO product should never be used by more than one person at a time.
- Never use any ropes or rope assemblies for any purpose other than their intended purpose.
- Never use a saddle, platform, or any other ACO equipment if you are not feeling well, if you are dizzy or nauseous, or if you suffer from a prior medical condition such as a heart condition, joints that seize, or if you are not well-rested, etc.
- Never allow any ropes, harnesses, or other devices to be placed around your neck.
- Never attempt to secure yourself or your equipment to a dead or dying tree or tree branch. Always make sure that whatever part of a tree you secure yourself to is fully capable of supporting your weight. If you see any signs of rotting, decay, dead or dying branches, leaves, or any signs of degradation, do not attempt to secure yourself to said compromised tree. Always visually inspect every tree that you attempt to climb to make sure you have mentally planned and/or mapped out your ascent before you begin climbing and that you are aware of and avoid any potential risks or safety hazards that may be involved with any climb or ascent. It is your responsibility to determine whether a tree is safe to climb.
- Never attempt to use ACO equipment on a dead or dying, leaning, or diseased trees or on trees with loose bark.
- Never rely on a tree branch to support your weight.
- Never use ACO products under the influence of alcohol, drugs, prescription medication, or any substance which may impair your ability to exercise good judgement and to remain safe, alert, and attentive. If you are under the influence of any substance that impairs your abilities in any way, then it is not safe for you to attempt to climb.
- Never secure or use an ACO product in any way that places stress or that causes discomfort to your back, neck, or any other part of your body. If you feel pain or discomfort of any kind, you should immediately discontinue use of said products.
- Never attempt to hunt at elevation during an electrical storm or when lightning may strike in your location or nearby.
- Avoid climbing during inclement weather and during wet or icy conditions. Attempting to climb during inclement weather increases the risk of serious injury or death.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON ROPE USE
WARNING – DANGER: The improper use of rope, or the use of the wrong type of rope may be dangerous and could lead to serious injury or death.
- Never overload a rope.
- Never shock load a rope.
- Never use rope in applications that exceed the heat rating of the rope.
- Always use the correct size of rope.
- Always refer to your climbing device manufacturer’s instructions, warnings, load ratings and rope diameter limitations.
- Never allow your ropes to come into contact with chemicals that may degrade the integrity of the rope or shorten the rope’s service life.
- It is the responsibility of the user to use rope in a safe manner.
- ALL ROPES AND CARABINERS SHOULD NOT BE USED FOR MORE THAN 2 YEARS. NEVER USE ROPES OR CARABINERS THAT ARE MORE THAN 2 YEARS OLD.
- Due to the wide range of rope uses, rope conditions, and a variety of factors affecting rope behavior, and the degree to life and property involved, it is not realistic to make specific recommendations concerning the exact loads any given rope can handle.
- It is the users’ responsibility to fully understand the safe use and operation of the rope being used for any specific or general purpose.
- The user needs to be aware of all factors including but not limited to the environmental, load, and a host of other variable factors that may present themselves as they affect the safe use of rope. Failure to do so may result in severe injury or death.
- The user of the rope assumes all risks.
- Any safety training or skill training required for the safe use of rope is the sole responsibility of the user of any rope. All users are encouraged to educate themselves on the safe use of rope.
SPECIAL NOTE FOR ROPES USED IN ELEVATED HUNTING
WARNING – DANGER
- Operating safely at height for hunting requires specific training.
- Never attempt this activity without training and guidance by an experienced professional in the industry.
- You must know and understand the effects of static and dynamic loading on the main safety line as well as all ropes and cords being used.
- Always be sure to properly tie and set all knots and connections to your fall arrest and safety gear.
- FAILURE TO DO SO COULD RESULT IN SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH.
HAVE A PLAN AND LET SOMEONE KNOW
Keep in mind that if your hunting location is unknown to others and communication methods are unavailable to you in the field, you especially must have a plan for recovery and escape. You must also have a safety plan in place if others are aware of your hunting location and whereabouts.
If you are trapped, it is important to keep your legs moving to prevent blood from pooling in your legs. In this scenario, you may push against the tree with your legs and do other forms of leg exercises.
Depending on your fitness level, different plans and methods of recovery and escape may be necessary. Have a personal plan and practice it with another responsible person before leaving the ground.
Only you can determine the best recovery and escape plan for your situation and you must have a plan for recovery and escape before you leave the ground.
If you do not have recovery and escape plans or ability, or if you do not have all of the necessary equipment, then you are advised to hunt from ground level.
If an unforeseen circumstance occurs, always remember to stay calm and not panic. Stay calm and implement your recovery plan.
Always make sure that someone knows where you are, how long you will be there, when to expect you back, and how to get you if need be.
Signal devices such as mobile phones, radios, whistles, flares, and/or locator devices must be in your possession at all times and ready to be used if the need arises.
Before First Use:
- Practice using your saddle in a controlled environment before using it on your first hunt to familiarize yourself with the components and operation of the saddle. It is recommended that users practice a minimum of 5 times during the day and at least 2 times in low-light conditions before using the equipment on an actual hunt. Never use any ACO product without first practicing in a safe and controlled environment.
- Ensure the saddle fits properly and is comfortable to hang in. If it is not comfortable, you may be using an incorrect size for your body shape.
Before Each Use:
- Review all instructions and warnings that accompany your product.
- Inspect your saddle for visible signs of damage. If any damage is found, the saddle must be retired IMMEDIATELY. A damaged saddle poses a significant risk for failure which can result in significant bodily injury or death. If any of the following is found, the saddle must be retired:
- Any damage to the webbing, such as rips, frayed edges, or abrasions of any kind
- Any damage or excessive wear on the bar tacks and stitching like frayed or popped stitches.
- Any damage to the buckles, like cracks or corrosion.
- Inspect your saddle for proper fit before each use. It is imperative that you wear the correct saddle size for safe use. Before use, hang in it from a safe location to ensure the saddle fits and is comfortable.
After Each Use:
- Handwash the saddle with warm water and a mild soap and allow to drip dry. DO NOT machine wash or dry or use any cleaning agents on the saddle other than a mild soap. DO NOT store the saddle until it has completely dried to avoid the development of mold and mildew.
- Inspect your equipment to evaluate the wear and tear that may have occurred in the field. If any damage has occurred as per the inspection criteria above, retire the saddle immediately.
- Store the saddle in only a dry place, out of reach from pets or gnawing rodents.
Care and Maintenance:
- Never store your saddle in temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Do not burn or singe loose threads.
- Do not sew components onto your saddle.
- Keep your saddle out of the elements when not in use.
- Protect your saddle from sharp edges and abrasive materials.