Tree Stand Safety Tips to Keep you Safe this Season

Deer hunting is one of the great joys of the year (after turkey season of course), but whether its opening day, or whether you’re trying to punch a tag on the final day of the season, it is important to keep safety on your mind at all times when afield. While you should be concerned with all aspects of hunter safety, trees stand accidents are the number one cause of accidents and fatalities when hunting. Let’s work to bring these accidents down. Here are some easy tree-stand safety tips that cannot be emphasized enough. 

Find a Well-Suited Tree

Do not haphazardly pick a tree simply because you know deer are close by or you could easily put a stand up without much time and effort. Rather, give yourself ample time ahead of season to find the perfect tree, even if it requires a little extra work. Look for a softer tree that your deer stand can dig into to provide that extra stability. Also, try finding a straight tree that fits your stand well. Just because it is wide does not mean it’s stable. Curved or bent trees also reduce stability and footing when hunting.

Make sure you have a good vantage point too. You may have found the perfect tree, but if you cannot see past 20 yards, there’s no point. Sometimes finding the perfect tree can seem like trying to find a needle in a haystack, but if you give yourself plenty of time, it will show up, even if it requires a little preseason love. Once you’ve found a tree that meets these criteria, don’t be afraid to doctor it up to make it perfect. Use a pole saw to cut down any branches that might be in the way.

Doublecheck Everything

Doublechecking every cable and bolt on your stand before use is a simple precautionary measure to ensure your safety. Often times tree stands are left in the elements and can become weathered rather quickly. This can cause rusty bolts or frayed cables. Make sure all components of your tree stand are in good condition and functional.

It’s worth stating that deer stands should be taken down every season and stored in a dry area. This will increase the longevity of your tree stand and greatly increase your safety for the following season.

Make sure you double check your safety harness, lifeline cables and haul lines as well. Most safety harnesses have a three-year use period before the manufacture recommends purchasing a new one. Double check what your specific harness states and follow the instructions. An extra 50 to 100 dollars every three years is worth the piece of mind.

Going up, On and Down the Stand

“Using a lifeline can be the difference between a really good hunt and a really bad hunt,” said Travis Sumner, NWTF Hunting Heritage Center and habitat manager.  

Once you have located the right tree and double checked all of your equipment, you are ready to get off the ground and fill a tag, but safety awareness doesn’t stop. Wearing a fall-restraint system or a harness is crucial and should never be avoided. Consider weather conditions too. If you suspect your stand may be wet or icy, make sure you take extra precaution.

Once you’re harnessed and are in the stand, it’s time to hoist your equipment up. Avoid tying the hoisting rope to the bottom of your stand, so you’re not bending over unnecessarily; instead, put in a hook at eyelevel to attach your hoisting rope to. Always hoist firearms into the stand with the muzzle facing down.

After all your great work being safe pays off and you make that long-awaited shot, take your time getting out of the stand. Even if you shot a record-breaking buck, there’s no sense jeopardizing your safety. Give your deer time, and give yourself time to safely get out of the stand.

Whether you are using a ladder, hang-on, climber or even a “penthouse” stand for deer hunting, being elevated with a firearm requires safety, caution and awareness. Have fun this season and be safe. A safe hunt with no action is always be better than an accident or a fatality.      

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