Deer season is open! Since September 1, archers are have been taking to the field. So some review on tree stand safety is a good thing.
According to the groups Treestand Manufacturers Association and Tree Stand Safety Awareness, falls from tree stands account for 36% of all hunting accidents nationally and are the number one cause of serious injury and death during deer hunting season in the US.
ALWAYS use a fall arrest system rated for your personal weight. Ropes or other homemade devices should NEVER be used as a substitute for a fall arrest system. The fall arrest system harness should fit snugly over your hunting clothes. Jackets and coats can be worn over top of the harness. This will allow you to add or remove layers, as the day’s weather dictates, while staying safely attached. Attach yourself to the tree from the time you leave the ground until the time you are back on the ground. When climbing, be sure to remember the “3 points of contact” rule – two hands plus two feet equal four potential points of contact, and any three of them should be in contact with your ladder or climbing steps at all times.
Always use a haul line to get your equipment up or down. Securely tie the line around your equipment, climb into your stand unencumbered by your equipment, then pull your equipment up to you using the line. Reverse the order at the end of your hunt.
Before using a treestand check for metal fatigue on all joints and welds, check metal stands for rust and wood stands for rot. Check for missing bolts and nuts, and for deterioration due to age or poor storage conditions. Inspect nylon straps which may show signs of rot or chewing from mice or other small critters.
ALWAYS tell someone where you’re going and when you plan to return. We all get excited come hunting season and we can’t wait to get into the field, but never be in such a rush that safety is overlooked. We want everyone to be able to enjoy hunting and all that comes with it for many years to come.
Wendy Horine, Nebraska Hunter Education
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission