As you hit the field this deer season, be sure to keep tree stand safety in mind. Every year hunters have accidents, some fatal, when hunting out of a tree stand.
Before the season starts, here are some tips to consider:
• Always check old tree stands for safety. Look at welds, nuts and bolts to make sure they are secure.
• Check all tree stand straps and replace any that are weathered or frayed.
• Always use a safety harness and life line when in a tree stand; check these to make sure they are not weathered or frayed and are in good working order.
All new tree stands come with a safety harness as part of the tree stand – use it. Follow the directions on how to correctly put it on. Another option is buying a vest-type safety harness which is easier and faster to use. Use a lifeline, which attaches to the tree above your head and is tied off at the bottom of the stand. Lifelines are equipped with a Prusik knot that attaches to the safety harness tether with a carabiner. If a fall occurs, the knot will tighten itself on the lifeline preventing the hunter from falling to the ground.
Know how to use the relief system strap on the safety harness if you should fall from a tree stand and are suspended. The relief system takes pressure off the arteries in the groin area. Practice hanging from a tree a couple feet off the ground with a friend present to help you out if needed. Knowing how it feels to hang, to get back into a tree stand, and to lower yourself to the ground should you have a fall is a must.
Be sure to have a cell phone within reach to make a call in case a self-rescue can not be accomplished, and always inform a spouse or friend of your hunt plan so someone knows where you will be and when you will return.
Don’t be a statistic this deer season; make your hunt a memorable day by keeping safe. ■