Title:
Hunting safety strap bracket
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A triangular tree bracket is vertically strapped to a tree trunk above a tree stand for a hunter with an outer end of the bracket positioned vertically above the hunter in the center of the tree stand. A safety strap attached to the end of the tree bracket hangs vertically downward connecting to the hunter. The hunter is able to turn 360° while attached to the safety strap hanging vertically from the tree bracket. A plate having a horizontal arched array of teeth extends laterally from a top and a bottom end of the bracket and into contact with and piercing the tree trunk. Straps are cinched around the tree trunk hooked to the ends of the plate to secure the bracket to the tree with the teeth piercing the tree trunk.



Inventors:
Auer, Wade G. (Fredonia, WI, US)
Application Number:
10/102295
Publication Date:
09/25/2003
Filing Date:
03/19/2002
Assignee:
AUER WADE G.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
182/142
International Classes:
A01M31/00; A01M31/02; A62B35/00; (IPC1-7): E04G3/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHIN-SHUE, ALVIN CONSTANTINE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DONALD W. MEEKER (NEWPORT BEACH, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A tree bracket device for a safety strap used with a tree stand used by a hunter, the tree bracket device mountable on a trunk of a tree above the tree stand, the tree bracket device comprising: a bracket comprising a rigid structural frame having a rigid vertical member and a rigid horizontal member rigidly connected to the vertical member, the vertical member having a laterally extending means to engage the tree trunk rigidly connected to the vertical member at a top end and a bottom end, and the horizontal member extending away from the tree trunk, the bracket being capable of mounting on the tree trunk above a tree stand for a hunter; a safety strap attaching means attached to the horizontal member at a position vertically above the hunter positioned centrally on the tree stand; a safety strap capable of being attached to the safety strap attaching means and capable of hanging vertically downward to attach to the hunter, the safety strap and the bracket being capable of supporting the hunter and capable of allowing the hunter to turn 360°; a securing means for binding the vertical member to the tree trunk at a top end and a bottom end to force the means to engage the tree trunk against the tree trunk for engagement to maintain the vertical member in contact with the tree trunk.

2. The tree bracket device of claim 1 wherein the means to engage the tree trunk comprises a top plate rigidly attached at a top end of the vertical member and a bottom plate rigidly attached at a bottom end of the vertical member, the pair of rigid plates each having a horizontal arched array of tree gripping elements facing away from the vertical member toward the tree trunk.

3. The tree bracket device of claim 2 wherein the tree gripping elements comprise a concave arched array of pointed teeth formed in each of the pair of plates, the teeth capable of engaging and piercing the tree trunk.

4. The tree bracket device of claim 1 wherein the bracket further comprises a rigid angled member between a distal end of the horizontal member relative to the tree and the bottom end of the vertical member to create a bracket triangular in shape.

5. The tree bracket device of claim 4 further comprising a first interior rigid element rigidly attached between the angled member and the horizontal member and a second interior rigid element rigidly attached between the angled member and the vertical member to strengthen the bracket.

6. The tree bracket device of claim 5 wherein each of the interior rigid element is capable of supporting a safety strap wrapped around the angled member above each of the interior rigid elements.

7. The tree bracket device of claim 1 wherein the securing means for binding the vertical member to the tree trunk comprises a pair of flexible strap members each having an attaching means at each end, the strap members capable of encircling the trunk of the tree with the attaching means attached to the laterally extending means to engage the tree trunk, the securing means being capable of securing the bracket to the tree trunk with the tree gripping elements engaging the tree trunk.

8. The tree bracket device of claim 7 wherein the pair of flexible tension members comprise straps having cinching means to tighten the straps around the tree trunk and the vertical member.

9. The tree bracket of claim 7 wherein the laterally extending means to engage the tree trunk comprises a plate having an arched array of teeth to engage the tree trunk, the plate having a hole adjacent to each end and the attaching means at each end of each flexible strap member comprises a hook capable of engaging the hole in the laterally extending means.

10. The tree bracket device of claim 1 wherein the safety strap attaching means comprises an eye bolt secured to the distal end of the horizontal member and the safety strap is provided with a locking hook for engaging the eye bolt.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to tree stands for hunting and in particular to a bracket attachable to a tree for suspending a safety strap vertically directly over the head of the hunter standing on the tree stand.

[0003] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0004] Hunting from a tree stand poses a unique danger in that the hunter is perched high off the ground on a very small platform which the hunter has just attached to the tree, usually by a strap encircling the tree. During the excitement of trying to get a clean shot at the prey, the hunter may move quickly and pivot and lean over on the small platform perch. Or while waiting for the prey to show up, the hunter tired from rising too early may fall asleep. Or the tiny platform might slip and fall out from under the hunter.

[0005] Because of this danger of falling for any number of reasons, a safety strap is usually attached between the hunter and the tree. Usually the strap encircles the tree and then attaches to a belt or harness on the hunter. This arrangement restricts the movement of the hunter to some extent enabling the hunter to pivot only to the sides and front. Furthermore, if the hunter slips off the tree stand or the tree stand collapses, the hunter will swing downwards in an arc and smash against the tree.

[0006] A number of prior art patents have addressed the problem of creating an effective safety strap for tree stands.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 4,687,074, issued Aug. 18, 1987 to Green, provides a tree harness which hangs vertically, but it is just looped over a tree branch, which is much more likely to snap than the tree trunk. The Green invention also has a seat sling at the end of the strap attached to the branch. There is no stand provided to stand or sit on. It would be very difficult for a hunter to shoot with such a device since the hunter would have to hold on to the strap to maintain balance and not flip upside down.

[0008] U.S. Pat. No. 6,016,891, issued Jan. 25, 2000 to Sava, shows a tree stand harness system which provides pegs on a tree stand encircling the tree and the looped belt or strap goes around the pegs rather than contacting the tree. If the hunter should fall, which is likely with only a very thin ring to stand on, the belt is supposed to cinch itself tightly around the trunk of the tree. The hunter is likely to fall part way or all the way to the ground before the belt cinches itself around the tree.

[0009] U.S. Pat. No. 4,667,773, issued May 26, 1987 to Davis, U.S. Pat. No. 4,236,602, issued Dec. 2, 1980 to Leggett, U.S. Pat. No. 5,738,046, issued Apr. 14, 1998 to Williams, U.S. Pat. No. 6,305,024, issued Oct. 23, 2001 to Schweer, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,101,631, issued Aug. 15, 2000 to Ferguson, all claim safety straps for hunting which encircle the tree and do not hang vertically with the inherent problems of restricted movement on the stand and smashing into the tree trunk upon falling off the stand.

[0010] U.S. Pat. No. 5,310,019, issued May 10, 1994 to Paul, describes a tree stand having a safety strap attached to a bracket extending from the tree, but it is actually a safety belt arrangement encircling the waist of the hunter but not cinched tight and very much restricting movement to a seated position.

[0011] U.S. Pat. No. 4,069,891, issued Jan. 24, 1978 to McClung, discloses a tree bracket extending from the tree, but it is a top part of a structural support for an enclosed hunting observation stand and does not support a vertically hanging safety strap.

[0012] None of the prior art patents provide 360° movement for the hunter and none of them prevent the hunter from slamming into the tree should the hunter fall from the tree stand.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0013] An object of the present invention is to provide a strong triangulated metal bracket having a top and bottom plate each with a set or arched teeth conforming to the circumference of the trunk at the top and bottom of the bracket to bite into the tree and two spaced apart belts cinched securely around the tree trunk with a hook at each end of each strap hooked into a hole adjacent to the end of the side of the plate, for a secure means to hang a safety strap for a hunter. Upon slipping off the stand the weight of the hunter would be distributed between the two straps on the bracket and the bottom teeth of the stand would be driven in further to prevent slipping of the bracket down the tree.

[0014] An additional object of the present invention is to provide the arched teeth of the bracket formed in a thick metal plate welded or otherwise rigidly attached to the triangulated frame of the bracket and extending out on both sides of the bracket confirming to the contour of the tree to prevent side to side movement of the bracket.

[0015] Another object of the present invention is to provide a bracket which extends outwardly from the tree a sufficient distance to hang a safety strap on a pivot connection vertically above the hunter to enable 360° movement for the hunter and causing the hunter to hang straight down upon slipping off the stand rather than slamming into the trunk of the tree.

[0016] One more object of the present invention is to fabricate a lightweight bracket for a tree stand safety strap fabricated of a minimal triangulated structure of tubular aluminum, iron or steel members so that the bracket is easily transported to the hunting site and easily carried up the tree for installing the bracket.

[0017] In brief, a triangulated bracket of rigid, but lightweight square tubular elements has a plate welded to a top and bottom with an arched array of teeth facing backward to bite into a tree trunk. The bracket is firmly secured to the tree trunk by two heavy duty straps cinched around the tree trunk and hooked into the plates with the teeth engaging the trunk.

[0018] An eye bolt is pivotally secured to the outer end of the bracket for receiving the safety strap clipped onto the eye bolt. The other end of the safety strap is attached to the belt or harness of the hunter.

[0019] An advantage of the present invention is that it provides 360° movement for the hunter

[0020] Another advantage of the present invention is that it holds the hunter upright away from the trunk of the tree upon falling rather than slamming the hunter into the tree trunk.

[0021] An additional advantage of the present invention is that it provides a secure safety strap bracket which is lightweight and easy to carry and install.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0022] These and other details of my invention will be described in connection with the accompanying drawings, which are furnished only by way of illustration and not in limitation of the invention, and in which drawings:

[0023] FIG. 1 is a perspective view looking up at the invention mounted on the trunk of a tree;

[0024] FIG. 2 is a perspective view looking up at a hunter shooting from a hunting stand, with the hunter strapped to the vertical safety strap of the safety strap bracket showing two extremes of pivotal positioning out of the fill range of 360° of movement.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

[0025] In FIGS. 1 and 2, the invention comprises a tree bracket device for a safety strap 40 used with a tree stand 70 attached to a tree trunk 50 by a strap 71 or other means and used by a hunter 60, the tree bracket device being mountable on a trunk of a tree above the tree stand. The tree bracket device comprises a bracket 20 comprising a rigid structural frame having a rigid vertical member 26 and a rigid horizontal member 23 rigidly connected to the vertical member 26.

[0026] The vertical member 26 has a means to engage the tree trunk 50 rigidly attached by welding or bolts or other means at a top end and a bottom end of the vertical member 26, preferably forked plates 21 having an arched array of teeth 22 facing away from the vertical member 26 toward the tree trunk 50 for piercing the tree trunk 50 to secure the bracket 20 from slipping. Each of the forked plates 21 has a hook hole 29 in each side adjacent to the end.

[0027] Each plate 21 is attachable to a tree trunk 50 by a removable attaching means, such as a pair of straps 30 or other flexible tension members capable of encircling the trunk of the tree and engaging the hook holes 29 by means of a hook 33 attached to each end of the strap 30. The strap 30 also has a tightening means 31, such as a cinch or ratchet mechanism, for tightening the strap 30 around the tree trunk 50 with the teeth 22 biting into the tree trunk to help prevent slipping for a secure safe attachment to the tree trunk.

[0028] The teeth 22 are positioned in an arched concave array conforming to the roughly circular cross-sectional shape of the tree trunk 50 to pierce the tree trunk 50 to maintain the vertical member 26 in penetrating contact with the tree trunk 50 to prevent any slipping of the bracket 20.

[0029] As seen in FIG. 2, the bracket 20 can be mounted on the tree trunk 50 above a tree stand 70 where a hunter 60 stands. The horizontal member 23 extends away from the tree trunk 50 so the outer end of the horizontal member 23 is positioned vertically above the hunter 60 standing on the tree stand 70.

[0030] A safety strap attaching means, such as an eye bolt 25 is attached to the outer end of the horizontal member 23 at a position vertically above the hunter 60 when the hunter is positioned centrally on the tree stand 70.

[0031] A safety strap 40 is attached to the eye bolt 25 by a locking hook 41 and hangs vertically downward to attach to the hunter 60. The safety strap 40 and the bracket 20 can support the hunter should the hunter fall with the hunter hanging vertically under the eye bolt and not slamming into the tree trunk, just as the bottom lock hook 41 on the safety strap 40 hangs straight down from the eye bolt 25 well away from the tree trunk 50, as seen in FIG. 1. The vertical safety strap 40 enables the hunter to turn 360° as is shown in FIG. 2 with the hunter 60 shown in two extremes of pivotal positioning 60A and 60B out of the full range of 360° of movement.

[0032] The bracket further comprises a rigid angled member 24 between a distal end of the horizontal member 23 relative to the tree and the bottom end of the vertical member 26 to create a tree bracket 20 triangular in shape for greater strength and rigidity.

[0033] For additional strength and rigidity the tree bracket 20 may further comprise a first interior rigid element 27 rigidly attached between the angled member 24 and the horizontal member 23 and a second interior rigid element 28 rigidly attached between the angled member 24 and the vertical member 2.

[0034] In FIG. 1 each of the interior rigid elements 27 and 28 is capable of supporting a safety strap 40A (shown dashed) wrapped around the angled member above each of the interior rigid elements 27 and 28. More eye bolts may be installed at these locations if desired.

[0035] The rigid members 23, 24, and 26 and rigid interior elements 27 and 28 are preferably fabricated of square metal tubing (aluminum or steel) to provide a lightweight but strong structure. The securing straps 30 and safety strap 40 are preferably fabricated of heavy duty nylon or other type packing straps.

[0036] In use, the hunter 60 climbs up the tree trunk 50 and installs the tree stand 70 and safety strap bracket 20 and hooks the safety strap to a belt or harness 61 worn by the hunter 60. The hunter can then turn 360° and safely watch for and shoot the game. The lightweight tree bracket 20 is easy to carry, easy to install and easy to uninstall.

[0037] It is understood that the preceding description is given merely by way of illustration and not in limitation of the invention and that various modifications may be made thereto without departing from the spirit of the invention as claimed.