With the opening of archery season for whitetail deer Saturday, many hunters will be climbing their favorite tree for a shot at the first buck of the year.
Tree stands are a popular tactic for bowhunting and other hunters, but tree stands also accounted for 20 percent of all hunting mishaps last year, and that doesn’t include unreported accidents. The Wildlife Commission is encouraging hunters to check your stand and equipment before opening day.
“If using a tree stand, hunters should always use a fall-arrest system and follow the manufacturer’s recommended safety procedures,” said Carissa Daniels, the statewide education and engagement manager for the Wildlife Commission. “Those simple measures go a long way in helping hunters stay safe while hunting with a tree stand.”
The Wildlife Commission’s hunter safety education campaign, Home From the Hunt, and the Tree Stand Safety Awareness Foundation, offer these tree stand safety recommendations.
Preparing to use your tree stand:
- Remove all your equipment and inspect it for damage before using it. This includes belts, chains, bolts, ratchet straps and attachment cords. Replace them if necessary.
- Wear a full-body safety harness as part of a fall-arrest system.
- Ensure you do not exceed the stand manufacturer’s maximum height or weight limits.
- Pack an emergency signal device, such as a cell phone, two-way radio or a whistle.
Setting up your tree stand:
- Share your stand location with someone before each hunt.
- Select a healthy, straight tree for your tree stand.
- Ask someone to assist you with setting up the stand.
Using your tree stand:
- Buckle your harness securely and connect to the tree tether before your feet leave the ground.
- Maintain three points of contact when climbing the ladder; two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand. Most falls occur when climbing up or down.
- Use a lineman’s belt and/or lifeline when climbing or descending.
- Raise and lower equipment using a haul line – never carry anything as you climb.