Tree stands offer a better vantage point, a larger field of view and an earlier view of game. However, they also are a major cause of accidents during the deer-hunting season.
The National Bowhunter Education Foundation recommends the following safety tips to reduce the risk of hunting from elevated tree stands:
- Practice with your stand at ground level, gradually going higher. Several Conservation Department shooting ranges and outdoor education centers have practice poles for free public use.
- Know the proper procedure for securing the stand to a tree and how to use the stand properly.
- Read the manufacturer’s warnings and instructions before each season.
- Use only stands that meet standards of the Treestand Manufacturer’s Association (TMA) rated for your weight and all gear or equipment you wear or have with you on the stand.
- Always use a fall arrest system that meets TMA standards, which includes a full-body harness rated for your weight and any gear you wear or attach to yourself.
- Have your fall arrest system attached to the tree from the moment you leave the ground, throughout the hunt and when you descend to the ground.
- Always position yourself so that you step down onto your tree stand to test its stability.
- Always use a haul line to raise and lower your gear, including unloaded firearms, bows and arrows.
For more details on tree-stand safety, visit the National Bowhunter Education Foundation under External Links below.