Tree Stand Safety Tips
To ensure the safety of hunt club members, tree stand safety guidelines should be followed. Tree stand safety has evolved over the years. What were once acceptable guidelines ten years ago are not considered safe today. Tree stands can be dangerous if they are used incorrectly or carelessly.
To help prevent tree stand accidents, follow these safety precautions:
- The majority of accidents occur when hunters are climbing up or down the tree. Always use a safety harness; never use a rope to replace a harness. Newer full body fall arrest safety harnesses offer more protection than older models.
- Read instruction manual thoroughly on the proper use and adjustment of the harness system.
- Check for an expiration date on your harness and look for signs of wear prior to each use.
- Don't leave the ground unless you are wearing a harness system.
- Attached safety strap to position on the tree to prevent you from falling more than 12 inches.
- Read instruction manual thoroughly when installing a commercial stand.
- Practice with the tree stand and harness at ground level prior to using at elevated positions. Keep manufacturer instructions on usage and provide to anyone borrowing your stand. Use all safety devices provided with your tree stand. Never exceed the weight limit specified by the manufacturer.
- Never carry equipment while you are climbing. Use a haul line to raise or lower your gear. Make sure guns are not loaded and broadheads are covered. The muzzle should be pointing downward at all times. Never climb with anything in your hands or on your back.
- Check your tree stand every year prior to hunting from it; replace worn parts. Inspect for loose nuts and bolts
- Do not attempt to modify your tree stand in any way.
- Select a healthy, living tree within the size limits recommended in your tree stand's instructions. Rough barked trees, such as oak, work best.
- Wear boots with non-skid soles. Be wary of inclimate weather and slippery steps & platforms.
- 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.
- Climb higher than the tree stand and then step down onto it. Climbing up onto it can dislodge it.
- Never hurry! Make slow, even movements of no more than ten to twelve inches at a time while climbing.
- Don't fall asleep; falling asleep is a common cause of accidents.
- Tell someone where you'll be hunting and when you plan on returning. Carry a whistle, first aid kit, flashlight and cellular phone.
- Take a free on-line tree stand safety course: http://www2.huntercourse.com/treestandsafety/course?page=1
- Review video produced by the TreeStand Manufacturers Association: http://www.huntercourse.com/treestandsafety/
Hunting from an elevated position provides advantages, however it also presents certain risks. The majority of injuries and deaths occur because the user was not following proper safety procedures. By following a few easy steps, these accidents could be prevented.