If you don't want to become a statistic like so many other hunters, you need to know how to hunt safely from a tree stand. Almost one in every three hunters who use tree stands will end up in an accident that causes them injury. These injuries can be severe, from broken bones and fractures to death.
The following safety tips will help you have a safe hunt the next time you climb into a tree stand. Heed the warnings and use your common sense and you can insure you make it out of your tree stand injury free.
Safety harnesses are the most important piece of equipment you will wear into your tree stand. You might know your safety harness as a fall arrest system, but they mean the same thing. The harness is worn by the hunter so that when he falls he won't hit the ground and do himself serious injury. Full body harnesses are the recommended style and if you wear something less than this, you need to upgrade your safety harness immediately.
You should wear the harness not only while you're sitting in the tree stand, but during your climb up and down the tree. Many falls happen during this time, so don't think you're safe if you wait until you're in the stand to use the harness.
Keep your harness's safety strap attached to the tree at all times. Inspect your harness regularly for wear and tear, and if you ever fall, replace your harness afterward. The stresses of the fall could damage the harness, making it less safe in the event of future falls.
To help prevent a fall, keep in contact with the tree, the ladder, or the steps you use to get up the tree. The more contact you have, the better prepared you are to quickly recover if you lose your balance or slip. Take it easy when you're climbing a tree in cold weather, just in case there's ice or snow on the steps or ladder. These can lead to dangerous slips. Always make sure your climbing steps aren't loose before you put your full weight on them. If they fail, you could take a fall.
If you do fall while wearing your harness, try not to hang from the tree any longer than absolutely necessary. Get yourself out of the situation while your adrenaline is high. The longer you stay suspended, the harder it will be to get yourself to safety. Take pressure off the harness by grabbing and holding onto the tree, the ladder, or the steps and then use them to help you climb down the tree or climb back into the tree stand.
As I mentioned before, after a fall, you need to replace your harness for safety reasons. The fall could damage the harness and it could fail in the event of a future fall.
When you're climbing into your tree stand, don't carry more than the necessary items with you such as a cell phone, radio, flare or flashlight. You need these items with you so you can signal or call someone if you are in an accident, but the rest of your gear should be hauled up to you with a haul line after you reach your tree stand.
Try not to climb too high into a tree with your tree stand. The higher you are, the more likely any fall you have is going to lead to serious injuries.
Tree stand safety is an important issue for hunters to think about and deal with. Being prepared with a plan in case of a fall is also important. If you want to stay safe, you need to pay attention to the tree you're climbing and trust your gut when it tells you you're high enough, or that you might be pushing yourself too hard. Follow all the safety guidelines mentioned above, and you're assured of a much safer hunt the next time you head into the woods.