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Hunter harnesses safety
Jacketport designed to prevent deer stand falls
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Kevin Yarbrough stands in his basement den with his mounted deer. Yarbrough invented a device to make using a deer stand harness easier. - photo by Emily Saunders
For hunters, the buckles and straps of a safety harness can make for a noisy giveaway.

But wearing the harness under a jacket can be uncomfortable, as the straps scratch against the neck.

It took him 35 years of hunting, but Forsyth sportsman Kevin Yarbrough has figured out a solution he’s called the Jacketport.

The patent-pending invention places a permanent grommet-like device into the upper back area of a hunting jacket.

The device allows easy access to a safety harness worn under the jacket, while allowing the harness straps to secure to a tree, preventing hunters from falling from tree stands.

“This kind of made it where it would come out away from your neck and if your jacket has a hood on it you can wear the hood and zip the jacket all the way up and rain wouldn’t come down into the jacket,” he said. “It made it more comfortable to wear and I feel it made it safer.”

Yarbrough came up with the concept about two years ago. While the design was simple, it took a while to ensure the pieces fit together.

His first product samples were finished in November. After testing last hunting season, Yarbrough decided to start selling his product to make hunting from tree stands safer.

The Jacketport is easy to install, he said, which is why he believes hunters will be interested in it.

A longtime Forsyth County resident, Yarbrough said his favorite and most challenging game is the whitetail deer.

Neither his wife, Kelly, nor 18- and 13-year-old daughters hunt with him, though his 10-year old daughter will tag along on occasion. 

Yarbrough has met many hunters who don’t use safety harnesses because they are cumbersome. They rely only on their tree stands for support.

Wearing a harness is recommended, though, because some stands are not secured well. In addition, hunters could doze off or lose their balance and fall out.

“I’ve hunted with guys who fell and one of them is in a wheelchair now,” said Yarbrough, who offered hundreds of samples to a national hunting magazine’s readers.

“One of them said his dad doesn’t wear his safety harness ... but now that he has my product he’ll start wearing his safety harness.

“I think it encourages people to wear their safety harness.”