Hunters Reminded to Use Safety Harnesses

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It’s cheap, it’s lightweight, it’s easy to use and it might even save your life.

“As far as I am concerned, a full-body safety harness is the best and cheapest life insurance you can buy, if you’re like most Oklahoma deer hunters and hunt from an elevated stand,” said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Although there are several makes and models of safety straps and belts for tree stand hunters, full-body harness types are the best, Meek said.

“Not only will these halt your fall from a stand, but they’re designed to keep the hunter upright,” Meek said. “Also since these types of harnesses adjust around a hunter’s shoulders, waist and upper thighs, then the force of a fall is distributed more safely and evenly.”

The older belt-type safety straps might have stopped a hunter from falling to the ground, however the force of the single strap around a hunter’s waist or chest have the potential for cracked ribs or other internal injuries, and/or the hunter might be positioned upside down.

“If the only type of safety belt owned by a treestand hunter is the simple strap, then by all means use it in place of going hunting without one. But definitely treestand hunters should strongly consider purchasing one of the new and improved full-body harnesses that can be comfortably adjusted to individual body types and sizes without restricting movement,” Meek said.

Meek offered the following rules for hunters, whether they have been using a tree stand for years or they will taking their first trip up to a tree stand this season,

# Be particularly careful climbing up into and down from tree stands.

# Once you get into the stand, always wear a safety harness, preferably a full-body harness.

# Make sure your stand is attached securely.

# Use a rope or haul line to raise and lower you bow or unloaded gun.

# Avoid or be especially careful with homemade stands.

For a complete list of hunter education classes, sportsmen can call the Department's hunter education hotline 24 hours a day at (405) 521-4650 or log onto the Department's Web site at Hunters should pick up a copy of the "2004-05 Oklahoma Hunting Guide" for complete information on hunting seasons and hunter education requirements.