From: Kimi Herndon – Hunter Outdoor Communications

When Hunter Safety System opened its doors a decade ago, a new category in the sporting goods industry was born: the safety harness. The idea behind the company back then was to make everyone’s treestand hunting experience as safe as possible, and that idea is still the primary motivation today.

It all began during the 2000 hunting season when Alabama whitetail hunter John Wydner’s treestand slipped out from underneath him. Wydner saved his own life by grabbing a tree branch and hanging on for dear life, while watching his treestand crash to the forest floor, some 25 feet below. Wydner slowly slid down the tree trunk and made his way to camp, bloodied and shaken.

Back in the warmth of the hunting cabin, Wydner explained his brush with death to his hunting companions, brother Jerry Wydner and nephew Jerrod Karr. Soon, John, Jerry and life-long friend, Jim Barta found themselves surrounded by sketches as they brainstormed the concept of an easy-to-use and comfortable safety harness. That collaboration and those designs would very quickly change the course of the three men’s lives—and later save many thousands more from injury or death.

In early 2001, Hunter Safety System was born as new safety harness prototypes were produced and tested. What initially began as an ambitious effort by two brothers and a close friend, later culminated in a new era of treestand safety with HSS becoming the industry-leading manufacturer of safety harnesses and accessories.

Before the introduction of the HSS safety harness, hunters struggled with hard-to-use fall-restraint products, they simply put a rope around themselves or, as in the case of John Wydner, they didn’t use anything at all. Now, a variety of harnesses certified to TMA standards are on the market, making treestand hunting much safer for everyone.

“Hunter Safety System’s 10-year anniversary represents a triumph in innovative vision and determined execution by three men to keep hunters safer while hunting from treestands,” said David Langston, HSS Director of Sales and Marketing. “It is through their vision that this category was born, and so many lives have been saved. At HSS, we will continue to develop products that will keep our hunters coming home to their families and friends, night after night.”

Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Danville, Alabama, Hunter Safety System is a leading designer and manufacturer of innovative deer hunting gear and hunting equipment for the serious hunter. For additional information, write to: The Hunter Safety System, 8237 Danville Road, Danville, AL 35619; call toll-free 877-296-3528; or visit