Natural Resources Police Investigate Tree Stand Accident

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The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) continue their investigation of a tree stand accident that sent a Smithsburg man to the hospital Tuesday night, Nov. 29.

At approximately three o’clock on Tuesday afternoon, Domer E. Ulery, 50, of Smithsburg, fell 18 feet from his homemade tree stand while deer hunting. Ulery, hunting on private property off of Garfield Road in Frederick County, crawled across a field and was found by a passing motorist in the 3400 block of Garfield Road at 6 p.m. The motorist called Frederick County 911, and Wolfsville Volunteer Fire Company transported Ulery to Washington County Hospital where he was treated and released. Ulery was not wearing a safety harness.

Almost half of the hunting accidents in Maryland are tree stand related and serious injuries and deaths have become common. The Maryland Natural Resources Police want to remind hunters of tree stand safety tips that can help you stay safe during your hunting experience:

* Use a sturdy portable tree stand. Tree stands certified by the Tree stand Manufacturers Association (TMA) are commercially designed and tested to meet high standards.

* Stay away from permanent tree stands. They weaken with age as nails rust and wood rots and they damage trees. If you must use a permanent tree stand, check it out during a pre-season scouting trip to make sure it is still safe to use.

* Read and follow the manufacturer’s directions and practice climbing with the stand before hunting. Remember to also practice at night because, more than likely, you will be setting up for your hunt in the dark.

* Choose your tree wisely. Smooth bark trees are not safe for tree stand use. Avoid dead trees and trees with loose bark.

* Always use a fall-restraint device, preferably a full body harness. Most tree stand accidents occur when a hunter is either entering or exiting a tree stand, so a fall-restraint device is necessary whenever your feet leave the ground.

* Always use a haul line to pull gear up into your tree stand. Make sure firearms are unloaded and the muzzle is covered. Never attach the haul line near the trigger or trigger guard.

* Let someone responsible know where you will be hunting and when you plan to return. Make certain they know what to do in case you do not return at the designated time.

* Never take drugs or use alcohol before or while hunting. Vision, coordination and senses can be affected.

For more information on safe hunting in Maryland visit the DNR web site at