Title:
Transformable multi-use hunting stand system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hunting stand system transformable between elevated, floating, and ski-mounted configurations. A cabin is hauled by and semi-permanently mounted upon a trailer by pinning. When the destination is reached, the cabin is unpinned and then elevated by a power winch within the enclosure. A cable routed upwardly through a guide tube exits the roof and is connected to an overhanging support. Once the cable is secured, the cabin is raised upwardly away from the trailer by the winch, and suitable legs are pinned to spaced apart struts in the floor with T-fittings that enable vertical and horizontal adjustments. With the legs installed, the cabin is lowered slightly to tension the legs. For transportation the cabin is pinned to the atop a pair of transverse adaptor tubes pinned to the trailer frame. The adaptor tubes enable attachment of a pair of floats or skis.



Inventors:
Hayes, Marc A. (St. Joe, AR, US)
Application Number:
11/215441
Publication Date:
03/01/2007
Filing Date:
08/30/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04C1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHIN-SHUE, ALVIN CONSTANTINE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Stephen D. Carver (Little Rock, AR, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A multi-use hunting stand system that is transformable between configurations, the system: comprising: a trailer having an elongated frame; a cabin that is adapted to be temporarily mounted upon and transported by said trailer, the cabin providing a protective interior for a hunter and comprising a floor, a roof and multiple walls; a winch disposed within the interior for elevating the cabin; an elongated cable controlled by said winch for connection to an overhead support; a control tube centered within the cabin for safely and stably routing the cable upwardly from the winch and out the roof; and, a ladder providing access to the deployed cabin.

2. The hunting stand system as defined in claim 1 further comprising a plurality of support legs adapted to be coupled to the cabin for supporting it above ground.

3. The hunting stand system as defined in claim 2 further comprising a control cord extending from the cabin connected to an electric control for remotely operating said winch.

4. The hunting stand system as defined in claim 1 wherein: the floor comprises rigid, elongated, parallel struts; and, the legs are selectively connected to the struts with T-fittings comprising horizontal portions adjustably connected to ends of the struts and vertical portions adjustably connected to the legs.

5. The hunting stand system as defined in claim 4 further comprising a rigid mounting plate centered and secured within the cabin to said struts, and wherein the winch is secured to said mounting plate.

6. The hunting stand system as defined in claim 1 wherein a pair of rigid adaptor tubes are removably pinned to said trailer transversely across its frame, and wherein the cabin is temporarily pinned to said adaptor tubes.

7. The hunting stand system as defined in claim 6 further comprising a pair of floats for floating the cabin, and means for securing said adaptor tubes to said floats.

8. The hunting stand system as defined in claim 6 further comprising a pair of skis for slidably supporting the cabin upon ice or snow, and means for securing said adaptor tubes to said skis.

9. The hunting stand system as defined in claim 1 further comprising an auxiliary A-frame system for elevating and supporting the cabin above ground.

10. A multi-use hunting stand system comprising: a trailer having an elongated frame; a cabin that is adapted to be temporarily mounted upon and transported by said trailer, the cabin providing a protective interior for a hunter and comprising a floor, a roof, a front, a door structure in the front, a rear wall, a pair of sidewalls, and a plurality of windows formed in its walls; a battery-powered winch disposed within the interior of the cabin and centered and mounted upon the floor for selectively elevating the cabin; an elongated cable controlled by said winch for connection to an overhead support; and, a control tube centered within the cabin for safely and stably routing the cable upwardly from the winch and out the roof

11. The hunting stand system as defined in claim 10 wherein: the floor comprises rigid, elongated, parallel struts; and, the legs are selectively connected to the struts with T-fittings comprising horizontal portions adjustably connected to ends of the struts and vertical portions adjustably connected to the legs.

12. The hunting stand system as defined in claim 11 further comprising a rigid mounting plate centered and secured within the cabin to said struts, and wherein the winch is secured to said mounting plate.

13. The hunting stand system as defined in claim 10 wherein a pair of rigid adaptor tubes are removably pinned to said trailer transversely across its frame, and wherein the cabin is temporarily pinned to said adaptor tubes.

14. The hunting stand system as defined in claim 10 further comprising a pair of floats for floating the cabin, and means for securing said adaptor tubes to said floats.

15. The hunting stand system as defined in claim 10 further comprising a pair of skis for slidably supporting the cabin upon ice or snow, and means for securing said adaptor tubes to said skis.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to hunting blinds, such as deer stands. More particularly, the present invention relates to hunting stands that are elevated during use, and which can be transformed between multiple configurations depending upon the selected application. A variety of prior art patents of relevance to the invention are classified in U.S. Class No. 182, Subclass 142.

2. Description of the Related Art

It has long been recognized by skilled hunters that hunting blinds or stands make hunting more pleasurable and productive. A well-placed tree stand provides an elevated position from which to hunt. A variety of well known hunting blind designs exist. Small, portable tree stands that can be carried to a hunting spot and deployed by a single person are popular. Many such portable designs are adapted to be attached to a tree trunk at an elevated position above ground, to maximize the view and range of the hunter. Usually the seat portion is clamped or chained around the tree trunk, and a multi-section ladder provides both reinforcement of the stand, and ingress and egress to the hunter. Portable designs also include the so-called “climbing” stand that enables the hunter to climb a branchless tree trunk. After the hunt, portable tree stands may be removed from the tree and partly collapsed or dissembled, and then carried back to the hunter's vehicle.

Larger, so-called “permanent” stands are not portable, but they offer many advantages. Such stands are built upon a selected region of ones hunting domain, proximate areas likely to be favored by the targeted animal. Usually they are spaced-apart from adjacent trees to present an unobstructed view of the area and to maximize the target range. Permanent stands typically enclose the hunter completely and provide maximum protection from the elements. These larger designs come in many configurations. Many resemble small rooms or buildings, and may include several amenities and comforts. Typically, permanent stands include a rigid platform that is supported above ground by a plurality of heavyweight legs and reinforced frame members. Proper assembly is time consuming and demanding, as proper tools and equipment are necessary. Once a permanent stand is erected, it remains upon the hunting grounds for periods ranging from months to several years. A disadvantage is that stands that are left unattended can be vandalized or destroyed. As time passes, it may become necessary for the stand to be moved or abandoned. For example, when a timber company clear-cuts the land around it, relocation or destruction of the stand are the usual choices.

Some deer stands are moved about by vehicles, and some such designs are transformable between operational configurations. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,739,428 issued May 25, 2004 discloses a portable, vehicle-transported deer stand. The stand is elevated during use, and supported by a ladder and at least two support legs. During transportation the legs are disposed in a storage position. When the system is erected, the legs are coupled to leg guides and locked into operational position. A manual winch elevates the hunting platform, raising it from the transport position to a hunting orientation.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,460,653, issued Oct. 8, 2002 discloses a hunting stand comprising an enclosure supported upon a wheeled trailer. The enclosure is raised and lowered through a scissor linkage driven by an electric winch. When the enclosure is to be transported, hinged wall panels are folded and collapsed into a flat stack for storage within the trailer. An ATV may used to tow the hunting stand to a specific hunting site, whereupon the collapsed stand is unfolded and then elevated.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,102,179 discloses a hunting stand comprising hinged panels, which is supported on telescoping posts and mounted on a trailer. When the enclosure is unfolded for use, the user elevates the entire hunting stand and trailer combination, either manually or with motorized power, from inside the enclosure.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,347,914 issued Sep. 7, 1982 discloses a portable tree stand in the form of a sling which is suspended from a tree. A hunter seated within the sling is hoisted above ground to a favorable vertical elevation.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,568,797 issued Mar. 19, 1971, U.S. Pat. No. 3,731,762 issued May 8, 1973, U.S. Pat. No. 4,205,733 issued Jun. 3, 1980, and U.S. Pat. No. 4,688,657 issued Aug. 25, 1987 provide seats within a frame suspended from a tree, that is winched to elevate the hunter above ground.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention provides a vehicle-transported hunting stand that combines the advantages and utility of both “portable” and “permanent” tree stands used by deer hunters. Moreover, the stand is transformable between numerous configuration for use in conjunction with different outdoor activities, including deer or big game hunting, waterfowl hunting, and fishing.

The hunting stand system comprises a somewhat cubicle, cabin that is hauled about and semi-permanently mounted upon an associated trailer. The system can be towed through the woods into a desired hunting site, and then deployed. When a suitable site is found, the cabin is removed from the trailer, first by unpinning it and then by elevating it. An electric winch secured within the cabin upon the reinforced floor controls a cable that is routed upwardly within the cabin through a special guide tube and out through the roof The cable hooks around a suitable support, such as an overhanging tree branch, and once the cable is secured, the cabin is raised upwardly away from the trailer by the winch.

The cabin floor includes a plurality of spaced apart struts and suitable reinforcement framework. Once the cabin is appropriately elevated, suitable legs are connected to opposite ends of the front and rear struts. Junctions are formed from T-fittings that enable custom adjustments to vertical and horizontal spacing. After the legs are installed, the cabin is lowered slightly to tension the legs, which are supported by suitable brackets placed upon the ground. The cabin is safely supported above ground by the combination of the legs and the cable. Once installed in this elevated position, the cabin may be reached by a suitable portable ladder that provides access to the interior.

For transportation the cabin is pinned to the atop a pair of transverse adaptor tubes that are pinned to the trailer frame. The adaptor tubes enable transformation of the system. The cabin can be secured to a pair of floats for use in fishing or waterfowl hunting. Bracket attached to the floats are pinned to the adaptor tubes to mount the floats. Alternatively, the system may assume a ski embodiment, wherein the cabin is supported over a pair of skis. The adaptor tubes are pinned to the skis with suitable clamps.

Thus, a basic object of the invention is to provide a hunting blind or deer stand that combines the transportability advantages of portable stands with the creature comforts of permanent stands.

Another broad object of the invention is to provide a deer stand or hunting blind that is elevated by an internal winch above ground.

Another object is to protect the hunter from the elements and provide good visibility and shooting range during use.

A further object of the invention is to provide a trailer-transported hunting stand that can be power-elevated at the hunting site to a safe position above ground.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a novel, portable hunting stand that can be automatically elevated above ground and supported either by a tree or tree branch, or by its own A-frame support.

Another important object is to provide a portable and compact deer stand that can be transported safely by a vehicle into remote and rugged locations typical of those encountered by hunters.

A related object is to provide a hunting stand that can be quickly erected at a desired hunting site with a minimum of special tools.

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention, along with features of novelty appurtenant thereto, will appear or become apparent in the course of the following descriptive sections.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

In the following drawings, which form a part of the specification and which are to be construed in conjunction therewith, and in which like reference numerals have been employed throughout wherever possible to indicate like parts in the various views:

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary, frontal isometric view of my hunting stand system, including a hunting cabin temporarily disposed upon a tow trailer;

FIG. 2 is a partially exploded, fragmentary, rear isometric view of the cabin removed from the trailer and supported upon a tree branch, just prior to assembly of the legs;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary, rear isometric view of the cabin coupled to its legs;

FIG. 4 is a partially exploded, fragmentary, frontal isometric view of the cabin with its doors open, with a foldable ladder deployed for entering or exiting the enclosure;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged, fragmentary, front isometric view of the cabin;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary, front isometric view of the deployed cabin with a portal open for hunting;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged, fragmentary, isometric view of region 7 that is circled in FIG. 1;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged, fragmentary, partially exploded isometric view of region 8 that is circled in FIG. 2;

FIG. 9 is a partially exploded, bottom isometric view of the cabin;

FIG. 10 is an isometric view of the hunting stand system transformed for flotation;

FIG. 11 is a fragmentary exploded isometric view derived from circled region 11 that is circled in FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 is an isometric view of the hunting stand system transformed into a ski-transported configuration ideal for ice fishing;

FIG. 13 is a fragmentary, isometric, isometric view of a preferred support stand;

FIG. 14 is an enlarged fragmentary isometric view of region 14 circled in FIG. 13; and,

FIG. 15 is an enlarged fragmentary isometric view of region 15 circled in FIG. 13.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referencing the appended drawings, my new transformable and hunting stand system, which has been a constructed generally in accordance with the best mode of the invention, has been generally designated by the reference numeral 10. The hunting system 10 comprises a generally cubicle cabin 12 that forms an enclosure for a hunter. The cabin 12 is temporarily mounted upon and transported by a small trailer 14, which may be towed by an all terrain vehicle (i.e., ATV) or the like. Once a hunting destination is reached, cabin 12 is removed from the trailer 14 by unpinning it. A cable 16 is connected about a tree branch 17 or other suitable structure, such as the elevating frame of FIGS. 13 and 14 to be discussed hereinafter. Once unpinned, the cabin 12 is raised vertically by operating an internal winch 15 (FIG. 4) with electric hand control 18. Initial movement of the cabin positions it for assembly of legs 20. After the legs 20 are installed with conventional pins 21 (FIG. 3), winch 16 is activated to lower the cabin slightly so that it is safely and stably supported above ground 22 by the combination of the legs and supporting force from cable 16. Importantly, the system 10 may be transformed into other modes to be described hereinafter, including a floating mode, and a ski mode.

Cabin 12 comprises a front 24 having a pair of doors 26, and 27 that are mounted with hinges 28. As seen in FIG. 4, with the doors 26, and 27 opened, the cabin interior 30 is exposed, and the rigid, supporting floor 31 can be seen. Cabin 12 also has a pair of end walls 32, 33, a rear wall 34 (FIG. 2), and a flat, rectangular roof 36. A hollow seat 38, generally in the form of a parallelepiped, is disposed within interior 30 upon floor 31. The seat has a hole exposing its interior 39 for storage. Winch 15, mounted on floor 31, has a control cord 40 extending through seat orifice 42 (FIG. 5), which runs to hand control 18 (FIG. 20) through a door 43 in rear wall 34. The winch is powered by one or more suitable storage batteries 35 (FIG. 4) that may be housed with seat interior 39. Doors 26 and 27 each have a window 45 through which the hunter can shoot and view game. Door 27 additionally has a handle assembly 46 (FIG. 5). End walls 32, 33 each have a similar window 48. The rear wall 34 has a relatively large rectangular window 49, and the roof 36 has a window 44. In FIG. 6 windows 44 and 45 are shown open. Once the stand is configured as in FIG. 4, a ladder 50 may be deployed by first laying it against the cabinet, and then attaching it to the front of the cabin, providing ingress and egress to the hunter.

Floor 31 is rigidly reinforced by a plurality of elongated, parallel steel struts, 51-54, consisting of front and rear struts 51 and 54, internal struts 52 and 53, and cross struts 55 (FIG. 9). All of these struts are preferably made of 2-inch OD tube steel. Winch 15 is centered upon a rigid, planar mounting plate 56 (FIGS. 5, 9) that is secured beneath the floor 31 between struts 52, 53, and 55. The hollow ends of front and rear struts 51, 54 removably receive T-couplings 58 (i.e., FIG. 8) that support legs 20. Each T-shaped coupling 58 is preferably made from 1.75 inch OD steel tube. Each coupling 58 comprises a horizontal section 60 fitted to ends of floor frame struts 51 or 54, and an integral, vertical section 62 (i.e., FIGS. 2, 5, 8) adapted to be coaxially received within an end of a leg 20. Multiple, spaced apart pin-coupling orifices 64 are defined in the leg ends. Similar pin-coupling orifices 65 are defined in the vertical section 62 of the T-shaped couplings 58; once aligned such that the orifices 64, 65 register, these parts are secured together with coupling pins 66 (FIG. 2). Similarly the horizontal sections 60 of T-couplings 58 are coaxially coupled within the ends of the frame struts 51 and 54 and then secured with pins 93 (FIG. 8) when the pin-coupling orifices register. Legs 20 preferably have bottom feet 68 that are pinned between the leg bodies and lower footplates 70 in the manner previously described.

As previously discussed, the winch 15 disposed within the cabin interior 30 electrically controls cable 16, that attaches at its end to a tree, a tree trunk, or other suitable support (such as the A-frame discussed hereinafter.) Cable 16 exits the winch spool, and is routed through a special control tube 71 that is centered within cabin 12. Control tube 71 is braced with suitable reinforcements (not shown) and is connected to a waterproof fitting 72 in roof 36, whose tubular periphery is treated to reduce friction and prevent cable wear. Further, fitting 72 prevents water from entering the cabin.

When the cabin 12 rests upon the trailer 14, it is pinned in position atop a pair of transverse adaptor tubes 75, 76 (FIGS. 1, 7). Trailer 14 has a pair of sides 78 and 79 on opposite sides of the trailer bed 80. Sides 78 and 79 respectively have upper top rails 83 and 82 forming part of the trailer sidewalls. The adaptor tubes 75, and 76 transversely extend between the trailer sides 78, 79, and are secured to flat base plate 77 (FIG. 7). Preferably the adaptor tubes are secured between tabs 81 that are welded to plate 77. A removable pin 84 (FIG. 7) secures the adaptor tubes to plate 77 between rails 82 and 83. The adaptor tubes 75 and 76 each have a pair of upwardly projecting tabs 87 that can be secured with pins 91 to the cabin struts 51, 54 described previously to secure the cabin atop the trailer 14.

Turning to FIGS. 10 and 11, cabin 12 can be mounted to a pair of floats to enable it to be used for fishing. In this configuration, the adaptor tubes 75, and 76 discussed earlier are unpinned from the trailer sides, and they are pinned to suitable band clamps 92 encircling the floats 89 and 90. The adaptor tubes of course remain pinned to the cabin struts as described above.

The ski embodiment of FIG. 12 similarly mounts the cabin 12 upon a pair of spaced apart skis 94. The adaptor tubes 75, 76 are pinned to the skis via clamps 95. When the cabin is towed over ice to a location for ice fishing, for example, movement is enabled by the skis, that slide over the ice. When the destination is reached, a hole is cut in the ice, and access to the hole from the cabin interior is provided by an ice fishing orifice 96 (FIGS. 5, 9) provided in the cabin floor. Preferably a cover is provided to block orifice 96 when not in use for fishing.

When hunting in a treeless environment, the support tower 100 may be used. Tower 100 elevates a rigid attachment plate 102 (FIG. 15) above ground to in turn support the entire cabin 12. A leg system 104 (FIGS. 13 and 14) includes multiple pairs of upper and lower leg elements 105, 106 respectively disposed in the proper angular configuration seen, for example, in FIG. 13. The lower leg elements 106 are secured to suitable plates 111 that may be similar to plates 70 discussed previously. Plates 111 rest upon ground 22. The upper and lower leg elements 105, 106 are coupled together with V-couplings 108. Orifices 109 in coupling 108 are aligned with orifices 103 or 107 in leg elements 105, 106 respectively during assembly, and they may be secured by pins 110 (FIG. 14). If ground 22 is rough and uneven, slight length adjustments in the leg system can be made since there are a plurality of spaced apart orifices 103, 107.

Plate 102 (FIG. 15) supports a plurality of downwardly projecting brackets 118 that are fastened to upper leg elements 105 with pins 119. A downwardly projecting support ring 124 is supported by its shaft 122 that is secured to plate 102 with jam-nut 121. The winch cable previously discussed can be quickly connected to ring 124 to enable subsequent vertical elevation and deployment of the cabin 12 in the manner previously discussed.

From the foregoing, it will be seen that this invention is one well adapted to obtain all the ends and objects herein set forth, together with other advantages which are inherent to the structure.

It will be understood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations. This is contemplated by and is within the scope of the claims.

As many possible embodiments may be made of the invention without departing from the scope thereof, it is to be understood that all matter herein set forth or shown in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.