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Inspiration For A Revolutionary Product

Wayne Bogardus, Jr., a Journeyman Toolmaker from Black Ash, Pennsylvania, was working on a prototype for a new style of lightweight climbing tree stand. During this time, he also began to look at different types of safety harnesses to include with the new stand. While researching that year, he happened to read a story about a 30 year old hunter who fell from a treestand and was on life support as result of his injuries. The young man's sister, his only relative, was forced to choose whether or not to take him off of life support. 

After reading this story, Wayne's focus quickly turned to treestand safety and began to search for a system that he could market with his new stand to protect hunters from devastating injuries or death that may occur from a treestand fall.

There have been many advances in treestand safety, including the advanced full-body harnesses on the market today. However, Wayne quickly found a glaring gap in the available products. The harnesses worked wonderfully in preventing hunters from falling to the ground, however those who fell often incurred spinal compression injuries as the weight of their bodies impacted on the harness. These injuries could affect the ability of the hunter to regain their position on the stand or ladder and leave them hanging in the harness- forced to decide whether to try to use a PRD strap or cut the lanyard and slide or fall down the side of the tree. 

There was also a disturbing lack of information for hunters about orthostatic injuries caused by hanging in a treestand safety harness and the amount of time they could remain hanging before orthostatic injury could cause loss of consciousness and/or death. It became clear to Wayne that the tree stand hunters needed a safe and reliable method to descend to the ground in the event of a fall that would not be dependent on the hunter’s ability to control it in case the hunter was incapable or unconscious. Over the course of the next year he turned his focus from the stand to creating such a device.

TreeStand Wingman™ Is Born

Wayne called his wife, Shauna, out to the barn to show her the working prototype of the system that would become The TreeStand Wingman™. After demonstrating how the product brought him safely down from the rafters of the barn, Wayne explained how the product could work for any hunter hunters wearing a treestand safety harness. A short time after filing for a patent, Black Ash Outdoor Products, LLC was formed.

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