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Evaluations : Dave Conrad
Last Updated: Feb 22nd, 2007 - 18:37:03

Field Eval. Cranford Deluxe Tree Steps
By Dave Conrad
Dec 20, 2005, 09:53

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Dave Conrad

Cranford EZY Climb Deluxe Tree Staps


Setting up a treestand in December is no fun, especially when the temperatures are hovering in the low 20’s.  But that is just where you would have found me earlier this week, preparing to bowhunt a couple of food sources.  Add in a 10 mph wind and I was dreading this task, but in order to score this late into the season you have to be prepared to adapt to your bucks adjusted travel patterns.

I am after two respectable bucks this season of which the larger will score in the 160-inch range.  I have yet to get close to him but the other, a 150 plus inch 8-point, I had an opportunity for a 15-yard shot about three weeks ago.  But as he was closing the distance I was shocked to see that he had snapped his left antler off at the base.  You talk about a disappointment as he fed within easy bow range.

Oh well, that is why they call it hunting and that brings me back to the frigid temperatures of December.  Now this could have been a lot worse for me, because I had left home without my gloves, but actually a smile came across my face as I secured my first screw in step to my new ambush position. The reason for my smile was that I was using a new set of Cranford EZY Climb Deluxe Tree Steps, which would make for a quick job in the frigid temps.

I am familiar with the fine products from Cranford and I have used them with confidence for many seasons.  Last year for example I was able to silently get into my treestand with Cranford EZY Climb Rod Tree Steps while a 190” inch buck fed less than 60 yards from my stand.  I know his score because later that morning he fell to my arrow. 

Cranford steps are solid and made from the highest grade materials in the industry.  They are the only manufacturers that are producing a step that is not of a solid rod style.  The EZY Climb Deluxe Step is a folding step which starts off with the famous EZY self-tapping screw.  This feature is what brings a smile to my face because little effort is needed to start them into a tree.  Other steps would have taken, what would have seemed a lifetime in that cold, just to get started in the hard wooded maple.  The heavy 11-gauge steel of the Deluxe Step was securely in the tree quickly with a little more than half a dozen turns.  As I reached the end of the 2 1/8” screw the step, which pivots on a stainless steel rivet, could be positioned for maximum leverage. 

Within minutes I was securing the last of my steps and placing the hang-on stand at a vantage point of 18 feet.  The precision machining of the screw from the edges to the valley allows not only for ease of screwing in but reversing as well.  I needed to do this a couple times as I repositioned the steps for better entry and exit from my stand.  Even though I use a safety belt and harness, I always think safety as I enter and exit my stand.

As mentioned earlier a solid stainless steel Rivet makes the transition from the EZY self-tapping screw past the hot-forged bend to the large step area.  The bubble pattern and raised end combined with the four inches of step area gives me overwhelming confidence while climbing with my large pac style boots.  At the bottom of the inner curve where the step bends the support has been expanded on both edges.  This design aids in biting into the tree as you place weight on the step thereby eliminating it from turning or repositioning.  I don’t know about you but I dread the scare of insecurity while I am more than 10 feet off the ground.

Another great feature of the steps is that at a little over five ounces I was able to place all that I needed into my two pockets.  The fold up design is compact and keeps the sharp, self-tapping screw from digging into my clothing.  With a safety belt on and maneuvering around a tree I know the last thing I need is a sharp point poking into my side, hip or upper thigh.

Looking down from my new vantage point brought yet another smile to my face for two reasons.  First off because the Cranford Steps helped me attain my goal of hanging the new stand quickly in the freezing weather.  Secondly because of the ability to hang the stand from a great vantage point from where to hopefully ambush the trophy buck of this area.

In Summary there is nothing worse than the aggravation of struggling to start a dull or poorly designed tree step.  First of all every second counts while hanging a new stand, especially if you plan on immediately hunting it.  In early season, the extra work will cause you to sweat, thereby alerting any downwind game of your position.  In late season, your fingers nearly freeze, as you have to take off your glove in order to get a better handle for leverage.  I hang several hang on stands before and during the season and I always trust Cranford steps.  No matter what the conditions you can always count on the self-tapping screws and quality construction.  While climbing to any height, I always trust the Cranford name.

Design 5 of 5 – The always reliable self tapping EZY screw makes for little effort from start to finish of installation.  The quality components that make up these or any other Cranford style step is something I feel I can count on season after season.  The compact design allows for easy packability, meaning less weight and bulk that is common with many ladder style stands. 

Price 5 of 5 – At a retail price of $4.75 a piece you can attain greater heights than that of a quality ladder type stand.  Besides you do not have to worry about a not so straight tree or one with many limbs that would interfere with a ladder.

 To see the EZY entire line: Cranford


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