Treestand Safety Guidelines
A recent study by the International Hunter Education Association (IHEA) showed that between 300 and 500 hunters are killed annually in accidents involving tree stands. Another 5,000 to 7,000 are permanently disabled, while 10,000 to 15,000 sustain less severe injuries.
It is estimated that 1 in every 3 hunters (37 percent) who use tree stands eventually fall. Three percent of those people sustain long-term crippling injuries.
The IHEA study found that 74 percent of tree stand falls occur while hunters are climbing to and from the stand. Most of them don't use safety harnesses and those who do only wear them on the stand. Only 22 percent of the hunters surveyed used a harness for climbing, when falls are most common.
Wear a Fall-Arrest System full-body harness meeting TMA Standards even during ascent and descent. Be aware that single strap belts and chest harnesses are no longer the preferred fall-arrest devices and should not be used.
Practice with the treestand at ground level prior to using at elevated positions.
Inspect the trees tand and the Fall-Arrest System for signs of wear or damage before each use.
Practice in your full-body harness in the presence of a responsible adult, learning what it feels like to hang suspended in it at ground level. Never climb with anything in your hands or on your back. Prior to descending, lower your equipment on the opposite side of the tree.
Hunt with a plan and if possible a buddy. Before you leave home, let others know your exact hunting location, plans and expected time of return.
Select the proper tree for use with your treestand. Never leave a tree- stand installed for more than two weeks since damage could result from changing weather conditions.
Choose a live straight tree for your tree stand. Never climb or place a tree stand against a leaning tree.
Know your physical limitations. Don't take chances. If you start thinking about how high you are, don't go any higher.
Carry emergency signal devices such as a cell phone, walkie-talkie, whistle, signal flare and flashlight.
Attach your full-body harness as described by the manufacturer.
Use a haul line to pull up your gear and unloaded firearm or bow to your treestand once you have reached your desired hunting height.
Courtesy of the Treestand Manufacturers Association. For more information, visit www.tmastands.com.