Title:
Tree step
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention has to do with a tree step, which preferably is a one piece bracket comprising an attachment tab, a step portion, and a brace means. The attachment tab has a tree abutment surface and a slot formed through it to allow the passage of a tree fastener. The step portion extends upwardly extending at an acute angle away from the abutment surface for a distance that is preferably the width of a person's foot, or slightly wider. The step portion terminates in an outer end that adjoins a brace means. The brace means forms an acute angle with the step portion as it extends downwardly and back towards the tree abutment surface with the brace terminating in a tree engagement end. The tree engagement end has a pointed surface such that it will penetrate and non-movably engage with the outer perimeter of a tree trunk. The tree engagement end also has a perforation to let a string, wire or other similar fastener pass through and hold or urge the tree engagement end in engagement with the tree.



Inventors:
Yowonske, Ricky Lee (Belle Vernon, PA, US)
Application Number:
11/805110
Publication Date:
05/28/2009
Filing Date:
05/22/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B27/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CAHN, DANIEL P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lawrence R. Burns, Esquire (Greensburg, PA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A tree step which comprises: a. A bracket having an b. attachment tab; c. a step portion; d. and a brace means; e. wherein said attachment tab has a tree abutment surface with a top portion and a bottom portion with a slot formed through said abutment surface extending between said top and bottom portions and allowing a fastener to pass therethrough; f. said step portion extends outwardly from said abutment surface and upwardly towards said top portion for a distance sufficient to form a footstep and has an outer end adjoining a brace means; g. said brace means extending downwardly from said top portion and back towards the abutment surface and terminating in a tree engagement end.

2. The tree step according to claim 1 in which said bracket is formed of one piece construction.

3. The tree step according to claim 2 which further comprises said slot formed of an enlarged diameter head section and a narrower diameter longitudinally extending section.

4. The tree step according to claim 3 in which said tree engagement end terminates in a pointed end for embedded engagement with the truck of a tree.

5. The method of hunting which comprises the steps of; a. Placing spaced apart fasteners along the length of a tree trunk; b. Removably attaching tree steps to the fasteners; c. Climbing the tree trunk by placing hands and feet on the tree steps; d. Climbing down the tree trunk by placing hands and feet on the tree steps; e. Removing the tree steps from the tree trunk.

6. The method of claim 6 which further includes: f. placing lag bolts in a spaced apart pattern on a tree trunk prior to hunting season; g. using tree steps with slotted portions for accepting the lag bolts to securely hold the step to the tree trunk; h. placing the steps on the tree trunk; i. climbing the tree using the tree steps; j. removing the tree steps with the slotted portions from the lag bolts when done climbing the tree.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Outdoor hunting is a very popular sport and is usually practiced in the habitat most commonly frequented by the type of animal being hunted. Throughout the United States, and especially in Pennsylvania, the most popular form of outdoor hunting is whitetail deer hunting. The habitat for the whitetail deer is the woods and fields containing trees and other foliage necessary for the bedding and feeding of the deer population. Stands of timber alongside cornfields or other brushy areas will witness the passing of many deer during a typical twenty four hour period. The Pennsylvania regulations of hunting absolutely require that the hunter be certain what he is shooting before he fires the projectile that is intended to bring down the game. In deer hunting additional requirements have been added that require the hunter to not only ascertain that it is a deer that he is shooting but also to know what kind of deer he is shooting. The laws of Pennsylvania, for instance, require that the hunter distinguish clearly the size and points on the antlers on the head of the deer before shooting. Such a requirement can be very difficult considering the timbered and brushy areas that the deer travel through. The position of the hunter with respect to the targeted deer is also very important in determining if a shot can be taken. A hunter, on the same level as the deer, and at a substantial distance from the deer, can be confused by the tree limbs and the brush that are interposed between the hunter and the deer.

The basic approaches to hunting deer are to track the deer, slowly walk through the woods looking for the deer or to pick a spot and still hunt until the deer comes by your location. The deer's sense of smell hearing and sight are excellent and make the first two choices (i.e. tracking the deer and/or slowly walking through the woods a very difficult proposition. A lot of hunters chose the third method. The hunter will at some point in time determine that a particular spot in the woods or fields is a good spot to sight deer and choose that spot to sit and wait for the deer to come by, thereby affording the hunter a clear view of the game and a possible shot at the target.

While deer have excellent senses with respect to sight, sound, and smell, they do have a few deficiencies that are detrimental to their well being. For one, we are told that deer are color blind. This helps the hunter because the hunter can now wear a bright color to be seen by other hunters without fear that the deer also will be able to pick the hunter from the background of the fields or woods because of the contrast of colors. Additionally our experience with deer shows that the deer do not usually look upwards during their travel or show a sense of fear from predators above them. Hunters take advantage of this by finding an elevated position such as a tree stands and waiting for the deer to travel under them or to come in view from their elevated position. When in such a position the hunter's scent is carried up and away from the ground level where it would be immediately picked up by the deer's excellent sense of smell.

A tree stand requires a hunter to provide a way up the trunk of a tree and a place to rest or sit while waiting quietly for the deer to come by. Most hunters will pick a spot during the non-hunting season and provide a seated area up in a tree with steps up the tree trunk to provide access to the seated area. Usually these steps are fastened to the tree trunk with fasteners such as nails and therefore once placed on the tree they are not removed except to replace them with newer steps. The problem with such a stand is that when not in actual use by the owner, others hunters are attracted to the stand and will feel free to use the stand. Many a hunter who has built a tree stand has arrived in the woods at his stand to find another hunter in residence. Such an occasion usually provides some awkward moments as the uninvited hunter is requested to remove himself from the appointed stand.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to the present invention there is provided a tree step which comprises a, preferably, one piece bracket having an attachment tab, a step portion, and a brace means. The attachment tab has a preferably planar tree abutment surface with an upper portion and a bottom portion. A slot, preferably longitudinal in length with a narrow diameter and terminating in its lower portion an enlarged diameter head portion, is formed through the abutment surface and extends between the top and bottom portions and allowing a fastener to pass. The step portion extends outwardly and slightly upwardly from the abutment surface for a distance sufficient to form a footstep. The step portion has an outer end adjoining a brace means that extends backwardly and downwardly towards the abutment surface and terminates in a tree engagement end. The tree engagement end has a pointed end for embedding in the tree trunk to fixedly hold the brace means from slipping along the length of the tree trunk when in use.

The present invention also includes the method of hunting which comprises the steps of placing spaced apart fasteners along the length of a tree trunk, removably attaching tree steps to the fasteners, climbing the tree trunk by placing hands and feet on the tree steps, removing the tree steps from the tree trunk when finished climbing the tree. Preferably the method will include placing lag bolts in a spaced apart pattern on a tree trunk prior to hunting season, using tree steps with slotted portions for accepting the lag bolts to removably secure the step to the tree trunk, placing the steps on the tree trunk, climbing the tree using the tree steps, removing the tree steps with the slotted portions from the lag bolts when done climbing the tree.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the tree step according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the tree step according to the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a front view of the tree step according to the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a top view of the tree step according to the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a view 5-5 through FIG. 3 of the tree step according to the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the method of using the tree step according to the present invention.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a tree step for a tree stand.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a portable tree step for a tree stand.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a lightweight, portable tree step for a tree stand.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a removable tree step for a tree stand.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a portable and removable tree step for a tree stand.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a lightweight, portable and removable tree step for a tree stand.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a tree step that may be carried to a tree, with fasteners already attached to the tree trunk, and said step slipped on said bolts, used, and then removed from said fasteners and carried away from said tree.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

What is shown in FIG. 1 is a perspective of the tree step 10 according to the present invention. The tree step 10 has an upper tree attachment tab 12, a step portion 14 and a brace means 16. As can be seen the attachment tab 12 has a slotted portion 13 that extends up and down the center of the attachment tab with an enlarged slotted portion at 15 for allowing the head of a lag bolt as is shown at 17 to pass therethrough. The attachment tab 12 has the enlarged portion 15 of the slot placed over the head 17 of the lag bolt and then the tree step is lowered so that the body 31 of the lag bolt slides up into the narrower upper portion 33 and held captive in a vertical position so as to support the weight of a person that is standing on the step. The step portion 14 preferably extends outwardly and slightly upwardly from a vertical axis of the tree 20 and terminates in an outer end 19 that adjoins the brace means 16. Brace means 16 extends downwardly and inwardly from the step portion and terminates in a pointed tree engagement section 21 that is intended to bite into the bark or trunk of a tree when a person steps on the tree step 10. The tree step is preferably made from 3/16 inch thick annealed steel and is bent to the desired shape so that the tree step and other tree steps are portable by a hunter in the woods. Alternately the tree step would most preferably be fabricated from a plastic material of high strength.

What is shown in FIG. 2 is a side view of the tree step 10 according to the present invention. The tree step 10 is shown having an upper attachment tab 12, a step portion 14 and a brace means 16. The brace means 16 is shown having a lower tree engagement end 119 that has a pointed end 21 that is intended to bite into the bark of a tree when a person steps on the step portion 14. FIG. 2 shows both the original position of the tree step 10 when it is attached to the tree

FIG. 2 shows both the original position of the step portion 14 as it is hung on the tree and the angle alpha that shows the difference between the original step portion 14 and the engaged tree step portion 14 when a person is standing on it. The angle alpha indicates the angle that the tree step 14 extends upwardly from a perpendicular to the vertical axis of the tree 20. The outer end 19 terminates the step portion 14 and adjoins the brace portion 16. The brace portion 16 has a lower end 119 with a pointed end 21 for engaging the tree when a person is standing on the step portion 14 and the step portion 14 has moved from its original attachment positions so as to engage point 21 in the tree.

What is shown in FIG. 3 is a front view of the tree step 10 according to the present invention. The tree step 10 has a pointed end 21, the lower tree engagement end 119, and the brace portion 16. The step 14 is shown and end 19 of the step 14 is shown terminating and being bent downwardly so as to form the brace being 16. Extending upwardly from the step portion 14 is the attachment tab 12 wherein the attachment 12 has a slotted portion 13 with an enlarged slotted portion 15. Lag bolt 35 is shown with an enlarged head 17. The enlarged portion 15 of the slot 13 should be big enough to allow the passing of the enlarged head 17 of the lag bolt 35.

What is shown in FIG. 4 is a top view of the tree step 10 according to the present invention. The tree step 10 has the upper attachment tab 12, the step portion 14 that extends outwardly until it adjoins the brace portion 16 which then extends downwardly towards the tree.

What is shown in FIG. 5 is a view 5-5 through FIG. 3 showing the lag bolt 35 that extends through the slotted portions 15 and 13 of the attachment tab 12. The head 17 of the lag bolt 35 will fit through the enlarged portion 15 on the attachment tab such that the attachment tab will be placed over the head of the bolt and then lowered on the tree such that the enlarged head 17 will hold the attachment tab captive on the tree should any outward motion on the tree step occur.

What is shown in FIG. 6 is the method of using the tree step 10 according to the present invention. It will be appreciated that the tree step 10 will be made of a lightweight material and be formed in a very similar fashion so that they may be stacked into a very compact arrangement when a hunter desires to carry it with him in the woods. While the hunter may prepare for the deer hunting season ahead of time, he may enter the woods and select a tree from which he would like to perform the hunting exercise. Lag bolts 35 may then be placed in spaced condition up and down the trunk of the tree 20 so that the steps are convenient and easy way for a hunter to scale the tree by using both his hands and his feet on the tree step 10. With the lag bolts in position in the tree prior to the hunting season, the hunter may then carry the lightweight and portable tree step 10 into the woods with him. Upon arriving at the select tree, the hunter will then remove the tree step 10 from his hand and attach the tree steps as is shown in FIG. 6 to the tree 20 and attach them by tying a string around the tree through the perforation in the lower tree engagement end 119 of the tree step 10. By attaching a string around the tree through the lower perforation of the 21 shown in the pointed end 20 and the tree engagement end 119 of the tree step 10, one may hold the pointed end so it is continuously engaged with the bark portion even prior to a person's stepping on the tree step or using the tree step.