Caution With Tree Stands

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Tennessee's deer seasons will officially begin, for 2001-2002, with the September 22 opening of the archery season and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is urging hunters to use care when hunting from a tree stand.

Many deer hunters find hunting from an elevated stand to be advantageous. It is often more difficult for a deer to detect a hunter in a tree stand than one on the ground, but the TWRA is urging hunters to be cautious anytime they use a stand.

The most common cause of tree stand accidents is a fall. All of these falls could be prevented with the proper use of a safety harness attached to the tree. Many falls occur when permanent, wooden stands, which have been left out in the weather attached to a tree, decay and become unsafe. Eventually, the weight of a hunter can cause the stand to collapse. If possible, use temporary stands that may be stored in a dry area after the deer season. If a permanent stand must be used, always check it before hunting to make certain it is safe and securely attached. Whether using a permanent or temporary stand, always use a safety harness.

Ten rules for tree stand safety are: 

  • Always wear a safety belt when hunting from a stand, including while ascending and descending.
  • Never climb into a permanent stand you have not built yourself or carefully checked out.
  • Never hunt from tree limbs.
  • Be sure the commercial stand you have is safe. Practice with it before using it in the woods.
  • Never climb a tree that is too small or too large for your stand to fit safely.
  • Be sure your stand is level at the height you wish to hunt.
  • Always stand up slowly and be sure of your balance.
  • Be sure you are steady and braced before shooting a firearm.
  • Always use a haul line for your bow or unloaded firearm. Do not attempt to climb a stand with your equipment.
  • Never climb a dead tree or one with dead limbs above your head.


hunter25's picture

Although hunting out west now

Although hunting out west now I never use a tree stand it scares me to think back to when I was a kid hunting from trees in Michigan and Wisconsin. We never used a safety harness of any kind and just carried our gun or bow up with us. I'm still amazed that anyone in the family is still alive as we did have a few minor accidents and still continued on with our stupid ways.

If I ever get the chance to hunt from a tree again you can be sure I will be following all the safety rules listed here.