Title:
Hunter's boot cleaner
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hunter's boot cleaner includes a support member, a cleaner member having a boot scraping surface, and a securing mechanism for securing the boot cleaner to a tree or ladder. The cleaner member can be adjusted relative to the support member to accommodate different boot sizes.



Inventors:
Levingston, Eric M. (Lexington, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/101671
Publication Date:
11/17/2005
Filing Date:
04/08/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/237, 15/161
International Classes:
A47L23/00; A47L23/26; (IPC1-7): A47L23/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, DUNG V
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Timothy D. Bennett (Akron, OH, US)
Claims:
1. A boot cleaner comprising: a support member; a cleaner member having a boot scraping surface; adjustable attaching means for use in adjustably attaching the support member to the cleaner member; and a securing mechanism for use in securing the boot cleaner to a tree.

2. The boot cleaner of claim 1 wherein the cleaner member comprises a first opening that receives the support member, the adjustable attaching means for use in selectively fixing the position of the support member with respect to the cleaner member.

3. The boot cleaner of claim 2 wherein the cleaner member has a hole, the adjustable attaching means comprising a screw member that is received within the hole and is selectively used to fix the position of the support member with respect to the cleaner member.

4. The boot cleaner of claim 2 wherein the support member comprises first and second legs, the first leg being selectively received within the first opening in the cleaner member, the securing mechanism being operatively connected to the second leg.

5. The boot cleaner of claim 4 further comprising: a first brush selectively attachable to the second leg of the support member; and, a second brush selectively attachable to the cleaner member.

6. The boot cleaner of claim 5 further comprising: a third brush adapted to be selectively received by the cleaner member above the boot scraping surface.

7. The boot cleaner of claim 1 wherein the securing mechanism comprises: a threaded member adapted to be rotated into the tree.

8. The boot cleaner of claim 7 wherein the threaded member is pivotably connected to the support member.

9. The boot cleaner of claim 1 wherein the securing mechanism comprises: a belt adapted to be received around the tree; and, belt attaching means for use in attaching the belt to the boot cleaner.

10. A boot cleaner comprising: a support member; a cleaner member having a boot scraping surface; adjustable attaching means for use in adjustably attaching the support member to the cleaner member; and a securing mechanism for securing the boot cleaner to a ladder.

11. The boot cleaner of claim 10 wherein the securing mechanism comprises: a ladder receiving member having a hole; and, a screw member that is received within the hole and is selectively used to fix the position of the boot cleaner with respect to the ladder.

12. The boot cleaner of claim 11 wherein the securing mechanism further comprises: a latch mechanism for latching the boot cleaner to the ladder.

13. The boot cleaner of claim 12 wherein the ladder has at least one step, the latch mechanism comprising: a stop for use in resting on the step.

14. The boot cleaner of claim 11 wherein the securing mechanism further comprises: an adjustable alignment mechanism for use in aligning the boot cleaner with respect to the ladder.

15. A method comprising the steps of: providing a boot cleaner comprising a support member and a cleaner member having a boot scraping surface; securing the support member to a tree; and, attaching the cleaner member to the support member in order to receive a given boot size.

16. The method of claim 15 wherein, the step of securing the support member to a tree, comprises the step of: rotating a threaded member attached to the support member into the tree.

17. The method of claim 15 wherein, the step of securing the support member to a tree, comprises the steps of: wrapping a belt around the tree; and, attaching the belt to the support member.

18. The method of claim 15 wherein, the step of attaching the cleaner member to the support member in order to receive a given boot size, comprises the steps of: sliding the cleaner member with respect to the support member; and, fixing the position of the cleaner member with respect to the support member.

19. The method of claim 15 wherein, prior to the step of securing the support member to a tree, the method comprises the steps of: attaching a first brush to the support member; and, attaching a second brush to the cleaner member.

20. The method of claim 19 wherein, after the step of attaching a second brush to the cleaner member, the method comprises the step of: attaching a third brush to the cleaner member over the scraping surface.

Description:

This application claims priority to provisional patent application, U.S. Ser. No. 60/565,358, entitled HUNTER'S BOOT CLEANER, filed Apr. 26, 2004, which is incorporated herein by reference.

I. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A. Field of Invention

This invention pertains to the art of methods and apparatuses regarding hunting and more specifically, to methods and apparatuses for cleaning a hunter's boots while on hunting site.

B. Description of the Related Art

It is well known in the art for hunters to wear boots or other such footwear during their hunting expeditions. Often hunters must deal with wet conditions due to rain, snow, streams, lakes or the like. Such wet conditions often create mud, snow and/or ice which is readily attached to the hunter's boots. It is also known that hunters may inadvertently step into any of a number of outdoor debris that may also stick or attach to the hunter's boots.

It is also well known in the hunting art for hunters to climb up into a tree or tree stand and once there wait for the particular game they are hunting. By climbing above the ground in this way, the hunter is less likely to be noticed by the game. In order to climb such trees and/or tree stands it is known to provide ladders or step sticks or other forms of climbing devices so that the hunter may ascend upward to the appropriate height.

Well known problems in the hunting art occur when the hunter has mud, snow, ice or other debris on his or her boots and yet desires to climb into the tree or tree stand. One problem is a safety concern, namely, that climbing such steps or ladders with muddy or icy boots increases the opportunity for slipping. Another problem relates to the noise that can be created. In particular, it is common for hunters having mud, snow, ice or other debris on their boots to climb up into the tree or tree stand and wait for the game. During this waiting period, however, it is known for the mud, snow, ice or debris on the bottom of the hunter's boots to dry or melt then fall off. This falling mud, snow, ice or debris may contact leaves, sticks or other things on the ground causing a noise that will scare off the game the hunter is seeking.

This invention provides a solution to the above noted problems. This solution is a boot cleaner that is easy to manufacture, portable for the hunter to carry on site, and adjustable to fit any boot size. II. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one aspect of this invention, a boot cleaner includes a support member, a cleaner member having a boot scraping surface, and a securing mechanism for use in securing the boot cleaner to a tree. Preferably, the cleaner member can be adjustably attached to the support member.

According to another aspect of the invention, the support member may have first and second legs. The first leg may be selectively received within an opening in the cleaner member, and the securing mechanism may be connected to the second leg.

According to another aspect of the invention, the cleaner member may have a hole that selectively receives a screw member that is used to fix the position of the support member with respect to the cleaner member.

According to still another aspect of the invention, one or more brushes may be added to the boot cleaner and used to brush the hunter's boots.

According to another aspect of the invention, the securing mechanism includes a threaded member adapted to be rotated or screwed into a tree.

According to another aspect of the invention, the securing mechanism includes a belt adapted to be received around the tree and attached to the support member.

According to still another aspect of this invention, a boot cleaner includes a support member, a cleaner member having a boot scraping surface, and a securing mechanism for use in securing the boot cleaner to a ladder or step stick. Preferably, the cleaner member can be adjustably attached to the support member.

According to another aspect of this invention, the securing mechanism includes a ladder receiving member having a hole and a screw member that is received within the hole and is selectively used to fix the position of the boot cleaner with respect to the ladder.

According to another aspect of this invention, the securing mechanism includes an adjustable alignment mechanism for use in aligning the boot cleaner with respect to the ladder.

One advantage of this invention is that a hunter's boots can be easily cleaned to thereby provide more traction and thus provide for safer movement while ascending a tree or tree stand.

Another advantage of this invention is that noise problems created by drying and dropping mud or debris can be largely eliminated.

Still another advantage of this invention is that it can easily be installed and then detached when desired so it can be reused.

Still other benefits and advantages of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art to which it pertains upon a reading and understanding of the following detailed specification.

III. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention may take physical form in certain parts and arrangement of parts, a preferred embodiment of which will be described in detail in this specification and illustrated in the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the boot cleaner according to this invention attached to a tree.

FIG. 2 is a perspective assembly view of a first embodiment of the inventive boot cleaner showing how the support member attaches to the cleaner member.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view similar to that shown in FIG. 1 but showing a second embodiment using a belt to attach the boot cleaner to the tree.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view showing the support member and belt 52 unattached to the tree.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a third embodiment boot cleaner shown attached to a ladder.

FIG. 6 is a close-up side view of a portion of the third embodiment of FIG. 5 showing the alignment mechanism in one position.

FIG. 7 is a close-up side view similar to FIG. 6 but showing the alignment mechanism in a second position.

FIG. 8 is a perspective side view showing how the third embodiment boot cleaner can be slid down the ladder until the pin rests on the nearest step.

FIG. 9 shows a container that may be used to store and transport any embodiment boot cleaner of this invention.

IV. DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring now to the drawings wherein the showings are for purposes of illustrating a preferred embodiment of the invention only and not for purposes of limiting the same, FIG. 1 illustrates a first embodiment of a boot cleaner 10 according to this invention. The boot cleaner 10 is designed to be attached to any tree 12 of sufficient size and strength in order for a hunter to clean his or her boots as will be described further below. It should be understood that the use of the words “boot” and “boots” is intended to include all types of footwear including, but not limited to, hiking boots, so called “army” boots, snow boots, waders, shoes of all types, and moccasins. Preferably the boot cleaner 10 is attached to the bottom portion of the tree 12 not higher than the average person's knee. In this way the boot cleaner 10 will be readily accessible to the hunter for boot cleaning purposes. While the hunter may clean his or her boots at any time, it is especially useful for the hunter to clean his or her boots prior to ascending into a tree or tree stand (not shown) for the reasons described above. For this reason, it may be desirable to attach the boot cleaner 10 to a tree near to the tree or tree stand to be ascended.

With reference now to FIGS. 1 and 2, the first embodiment boot cleaner 10 may include a support member 30, a cleaner member 100, and a securing mechanism 38 for use in securing the boot cleaner 10 to the tree 12. The preferred support member 30 has a pair of legs, vertical leg 34 and horizontal leg 36, that together form an L-shaped bracket 32. The securing mechanism 38, in one embodiment, includes a threaded member 42. The threaded member 42 can be rotated or screwed into the tree 12 surface in order to fasten or secure the support member 30 to the tree 12. The threaded member 42 can be of any design chosen with sound engineering judgment. Preferably, the threaded member 42 is pivotable along curve Al with respect to the support member 30 about a pivot pin 44 attached to the vertical leg 34. It is also preferred to form the vertical leg 34 from a generally U-shaped member, as shown, defining a channel 35. As shown in FIG. 2, the threaded member 42 can be pivoted into the channel 35 for storage purposes.

With reference now to FIGS. 3 and 4, in another embodiment, the securing mechanism 38 includes a belt 52 that wraps around the tree 12 to fasten or secure the support member 30 to the tree 12. The belt 52 can be of any design chosen with sound engineering judgment but preferably includes a belt hook 58 at each end. A plate 54, preferably with an arc shape as shown, may extend from the vertical leg 34. Holes 56 may be provided in the plate 54 and are used to receive the belt hooks 58. The belt 52 can be attached to the plate 54 and then tightened to the tree 12 in any conventional manner. It is also contemplated, in another embodiment, to provide both a threaded member 42 (as shown in FIG. 2) and a plate 54 on the same vertical leg 34 so that the support member 30 can be both rotated into and belted to the tree 12. Optionally, the lower portion of the vertical leg 34 has at least one extending surface 60 to engage the tree 12. Preferably, two extending surfaces 60, 60 extend from the vertical leg 34, one on each side. The extending surfaces 60, 60 help transfer the load created by the hunter's boot and the cantilevered boot cleaner 10 to the tree 12. The extending surfaces 60, 60 may form an arc A2 with the vertical leg 34, as shown, to rest against a portion of the outer circumference of the tree 12. Alternatively, the extending surface 60 (or surfaces) may have a sharp end or barb that penetrates the bark of the tree 12. In either case, the boot cleaner 10 is appropriately held in place against the tree 12.

With reference now to FIGS. 1-3, the cleaner member 100 is generally a straight piece with an opening 102 along a majority of its length. This opening 102 is used to receive the horizontal leg 36 of the support member 30. The cleaner member 100 also has a boot scraping surface 104. As the hunter slides his or her boot across the scraping surface 104, mud and/or other debris attached to the boot is scraped off of the boot and falls to the ground. Preferably, the scraping surface 104 is V-shaped defining an edge 105 that is especially useful in scraping mud and other debris from boots. Attaching means 108 is provided to attach the cleaner member 100 to the support member 30. Preferably the attaching means 108 is adjustable so that the cleaner member 100 can be adjustably attached to the support member 30. By adjustably attached it is meant that the cleaner member 100 can be adjusted to attach to the support member 30 at a number of relative positions to accommodate different boot sizes. In the preferred embodiment, the attaching means 108 includes a screw 110 that is received within a hole, preferably threaded, in the cleaner member 100. The end of the screw 110 can be extended (screwed) into the hole 102 and contacts the horizontal leg 36 of the support member 30 to create a fixed connection. To adjust the position of the cleaner member 100 relative to the support member 30, it is only necessary to loosen the screw 110, slide the cleaner member 100 along the horizontal leg 36 to the desired position, and then retighten the screw 110 to the horizontal leg 36. In an alternate embodiment, the horizontal leg 36 could be provided with the scraping surface and with an opening that receives the cleaner member 100. The position adjustability of the cleaner member 100 with respect to the support member 30 in this case would be very similar to that just described.

With continuing reference to FIGS. 1-3, while the boot cleaner 100 described so far works well for cleaning mud and other debris off of the bottom of a hunter's boot, this invention also provides optional brushes which can be used to help remove mud, dirt, debris and the like from the sides and/or the bottom of the boot. Specifically, a first brush 120 may be connected to the vertical leg 34. A brush bracket 122, as shown in FIG. 2, may extend from the vertical leg 34, as shown, and form a surface upon which the first brush 120 can be attached to the support member 30. A second brush 126 may also be provided and connected to the cleaner member 100. Again, a brush bracket 124, shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, may extend from the cleaner member 100, as shown, and form a surface upon which the second brush 126 can be attached to the cleaner member 100. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 5, a third brush 130 may be optionally used. The third brush 130 may include a connection member 132 defining an opening 133 that receives the cleaner member 100 in a friction fit and, when attached as shown in FIG. 5, preferably is positioned above the boot scraping surface 104. In this way, the hunter's boot can be cleaned by brushes on the bottom and both sides. It should be noted that the brushes used with this invention can be of any type chosen with sound engineering judgment.

With reference now to FIGS. 5 -8, an alternate embodiment boot cleaner 150 is shown. In general, the components that make up the second embodiment boot cleaner 150 are the same as in the previously described boot cleaner 10. However, this boot cleaner 150 is intended to be attached not directly to a tree 12 but to a ladder or step stick 152 (which may or may not be connected to or near a tree). To accomplish this alternate use, the support member 30 incorporates a ladder receiving member 156 that is preferably U-shaped defining a channel 158. The ladder receiving member 156 may also include a hole that receives a screw 172. One column of the ladder or step stick 152 is received within the channel 158 and the screw 172 can be tightened to secure the support member 30 to the ladder or step stick 152, preferably at a height above the ground not higher than the average person's knee. The screw 172 may have a flat head, as shown. Protective padding 160 may be optionally provided to the inner surface of the ladder receiving member 156 and/or to the head of the screw 172. An optional latch mechanism 180 may be provided to latch the boot cleaner 150 to the ladder 152. The latch mechanism 180 may include a pin 182 that is received within a pair of apertures in the ladder receiving member 156, as shown. The latch mechanism 180 may also include a latch spring 184 that holds the pin 182 to the ladder receiving member 156. The pin 182 can optionally be used to act as a stop. More specifically, as shown in FIGS. 6-8, when the receiving member 156 is placed so that the channel 158 receives the ladder or step stick 152, the boot cleaner 150 may be permitted to slide down the column until the pin 182 rests on the nearest step.

With continuing reference to FIGS. 5-8, the second embodiment boot cleaner 150 may also include an adjustable alignment mechanism 190 that is used to align the boot cleaner 150 to the ladder 152. More specifically, the alignment mechanism 190 is useful to align the angle of the horizontal leg 36 of the support member with respect to both the ladder 152 and the ground. The alignment mechanism 190 also helps to transfer the load created by the hunter's boot and the cantilevered boot cleaner 150 to the ladder 152. Preferably the alignment mechanism 190 includes an adjustable screw 179 that is received within at least one aperture (two shown) in the vertical leg 34 and that has a flat head, as shown, to rest against the ladder or step stick 152. The screw 179 can be adjusted simply by rotating it. Optionally, a tightening nut 181 can be used, as shown, to tighten or secure the screw 179 in place. Protective padding 160 may be optionally provided to the head of the screw 179, as shown.

With reference now to FIGS. 1-4, the installation of the boot cleaner 10 will now be described. First a location on the tree 12 at comfortable level, preferably below knee height, is determined. The various brushes may be attached, if desired, in a manner described above. The threaded member 42 is then pivoted up, away from the channel 35 but substantially parallel to the vertical leg 34, and is rotated or screwed into the tree 12 at that location. During this operation, the horizontal leg 36 may serve as a handle with which the hunter can use to rotate the support member 30. Once the threaded member 42 has been inserted into the tree 12 the boot cleaner 10 is then pivoted downward, relative to the threaded member 42, so that the horizontal member 36 is substantially parallel to the ground (or placed at any other position the hunter desires). A slight amount of pressure may then be applied to cause the extending surface(s) 60 to engage the tree 12. If a belt 52 is used in place of the threaded member 12, once the boot cleaner 10 is positioned relative to the tree 12, the belt is 52 wrapped around the tree and then is attached to the vertical leg 34 (in the preferred embodiment, the belt hooks 58 are inserted into the holes 56 in the plate 54). The belt 52 can then be tightened to hold the support member 30 to the tree 12. The cleaner member 100 can then be slid onto the horizontal leg 36 as described above. Finally, the cleaner member 100 is fixed with respect to the horizontal leg 36 with the attaching means 108 as described above. If desired, the cleaner member 100 can easily be adjusted with respect to the horizontal leg 36 using the adjustable attaching means 108 as is also described above.

With reference to FIGS. 1-4 and 9, the boot cleaner 10 can also be easily detached from the tree 12. First the attaching means 108 is loosened and the cleaner member 100 is slid off of the horizontal leg 36. The securing mechanism 38 is then detached (by either rotating the threaded member 42 out of the tree 12 or by releasing the belt 52 from the tree 12 or both). Both the support member 30 and cleaner member 100 can then be placed into container 200 for storage and transport.

With reference to FIGS. 5-8, the installation of the boot cleaner 150 is similar. First a location on the ladder or tree stand 152 at comfortable level, preferably below knee height, is determined. The various brushes may be attached, if desired, in a manner described above. The receiving member 156 is placed so that the channel 158 receives the ladder or step stick 152. In one embodiment, the boot cleaner 150 may be permitted to slide down the column until the pin 182 rests on the nearest step, as shown in FIG. 8. The boot cleaner 150 is then pivoted so that the vertical member 34 is substantially parallel to the ladder 152, as shown in FIG. 6 or placed at any other position the hunter desires, for example, as shown in FIG. 7. The adjustable alignment mechanism 190 is then tightened to hold the support member 30 in place. The cleaner member 100 can then be slid onto the horizontal leg 36 as described above. Finally, the cleaner member 100 is fixed with respect to the horizontal leg 36 with the attaching means 108 as described above. If desired, the cleaner member 100 can easily be adjusted with respect to the horizontal leg 36 using the adjustable attaching means 108.

With continuing reference to FIGS. 5-8, the boot cleaner 150 can also be easily detached from the ladder 152. First, if used, the latch mechanism 180 is unlatched and the pin 182 is removed. Next, the screw 172 is loosened. Both the support member 30 and cleaner member 100 can then be placed into container for storage and transport.

The preferred embodiments have been described, hereinabove. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the above methods may incorporate changes and modifications without departing from the general scope of this invention. It is intended to include all such modifications and alterations in so far as they come within the scope of the appended claims or the equivalents thereof. Note, for example, that the components described above can be formed of any material chosen with sound engineering judgment. Note also, with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2 that the cleaner member 100 may also include a hook 1 18. This hook 1 18 may be used for holding anything desired by the hunter such as, for example, a scent bag 1 19 in order to provide the scent that the hunter would like the game to smell.





 
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