Tree Stand Safety 101
Tree stand accidents are the major cause of hunting-related injuries.
The proper use of tree stand equipment will help to prevent these injuries or even death.
- Know and understand your equipment before going to the woods. Inspect all stands each year before use and look for any signs of wear, structural fatigue, or missing bolts, nuts, chains or straps. This includes any Full Body Harnesses or safety straps. If you are not familiar with a new stand set it up only a few feet off ground and practice any moves, adjustments or other actions you may do when fully deployed at extended heights.
- Choose the proper tree type for your particular stand. Never use a climbing stand on smooth-barked trees, especially during icy or wet conditions. Always seek a tree as straight as possible that is free of decay, debris, insect nests or animal dens or nests. Remove any debris from bottom of stand that would cause serious puncture or impalement chances if you fell. Remove any limbs, vines or other obstructions that could trip, snag or otherwise cause you to lose your balance and fall.
- Always wear a FULL BODY HARNESS on any tree stand. Be sure to fully understand manufacturers' instructions on proper rigging while climbing, hunting and descent back down. Understand what procedures are used in case of a fall while harnessed with safety lanyard. There are a multitude of safety videos that cover these scenarios on YouTube.
- On ladder-type stands, follow the 3 point rule of tree stand safety. Always have 3 points of contact to the steps or ladder before moving. This could be two arms and one leg holding and stepping on the ladder or one arm and two legs in contact with the ladder before moving.
- Never climb ANY stand with a weapon or load in your hands. Always use a lift rope to raise items up to stand AFTER you are secured. Always lift a firearm on an empty chamber and muzzle down. Broadheads should be secured in a manner that points and blades are covered and crossbows are not loaded with foot stirrups facing down.
- Always make slow movements in short increments when up in a lock-on, climbing, or ladder stand. Sudden jerky movements can loosen a stands grip or cause a loss of balance.
- Last but not least, always let someone know the approximate area you are hunting and an expected time to return. Bring a whistle and a cell phone.
Check out some of these safety items for tree stands! Be sure to check back in next Tuesday for more tips from our expert staff and pro staff from around the country.