As hunting season begins, hunters will head to the outdoors for what they hope will be a rewarding and safe experience. Many deer hunters will choose to hunt from elevated treestands. When using a treestand, hunters should take the necessary precautions to avoid a fall.
Accidents are increasing due to the increase of hunters using elevated treestands. Seventy percent of treestand accidents occur while hunters climb up to or descend from their treestand, or enter or depart from the stand. Only 30 percent occur while hunting from the stand. Statistics reveal that 66 percent of hunters never use a safety belt or harness while climbing to or from their stand, when they are most likely to fall. Hunters can work together to reduce treestand accidents by following these 5 steps of treestand safety:
- Always use a safety harness or other fall-restraint system, preferably a full body harness, whenever you are using a treestand. This includes ascending, descending and occupying your stand. Remember that most falls occur when ascending or descending, not while occupying the stand.
- Only use equipment that is in good condition. This includes stands, harnesses and steps. Check your equipment regularly during the season. If your treestand or equipment is not safe, remove it from the tree or dispose of it. If possible, use equipment that is approved by the Treestand Manufacturers Association (TMA).
- Avoid hunting from heights above 15 feet.
- Maintain a short tether between you and the tree. Allow only enough slack for you to turn to shoot.
- Always use a haul line to raise and lower your equipment.