Tree Stand Safety Advice and Tips
As the hunting season kicks off, people all around the country are taking to the wilderness in chase of game with a rifle in one hand, and a whole host of equipment in the other. Over the last few decades, huge developments have been made with regards to keeping hunters safe; hunting-related incidents – including hunter-on-hunter accidental shootings – have dropped dramatically as more people become informed of the best practices for hunting.
The hunting community is growing ever-more vigilant when it comes to safety, however, something which is often overlooked is tree stand safety. Many hunters become complacent when it comes to the tree stand, after all, it is a lofty structure which keeps you separated from wild animals and other hunters can clearly see what’s going on. It is this lofty nature which poses the greatest danger, however.
Now you've found a good spot for your tree stand, here are some tips and pieces of safety advice for using one.
Use a Safety Harness
This really should go without saying: a tree stand sits high up in the air and it’s not going to do you any good if you fall out of one. Whenever you are in your stand, you should be wearing a harness and have it strapped either to the stand or the tree itself. Falls do happen, and a harness may well just save your life, especially if you are sitting above questionable terrain or particularly high up.
Regularly Inspect Your Tree Stand(s)
There’s no point putting up and taking down your tree stand(s) each time you go on a hunt; the majority of hunters leave their tree stands up for extended periods of time. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this, your stand can take a beating from the elements and it is essential that you inspect your tree stand for signs of damage, wear and tear each time you head on up… especially if it has been a while since you were last there.
Take a Knife and Whistle
If you are hunting alone, a knife and whistle are two of the most important personal protection items you can bring along. A whistle can be used to startle animals or attract the attention of other nearby hunters should you run into any trouble, whereas a knife has a range of uses from up-and-close protection to cutting yourself free from a sticky situation.
Communicate with Loved Ones
One of the simplest ways you can ensure your safety is to tell your close family and friends where you are going, what you are doing and when you expect to be back. If something were to happen to you, these people would know when to raise the alarm and when to go looking. If you are out in an area which has half-decent data coverage, why not use services such as Find My Friends or other location-based tracker apps (heck, even Snapchat Map can be useful for this!) so that people can keep tabs on you?
Don’t Sleep in Your Stand
Although you are likely to be spending plenty of time in your tree stand, you should not under any circumstances sleep in it. If you feel tired, call it a day and head on home, and ensure you have had plenty of rest before you head to your tree stand. When you are in your stand, you need to be alert at all times. In addition to this, you could end up falling from your tree stand or inadvertently injuring yourself with some of your equipment.
Prepare for the Worst
You need a plan incase should you end up falling from your tree stand. The first part of this plan is wearing a harness, however, that’s only half of the story. How are you going to get back up to your stand in the tree or safely down to the ground when you’re dangling in mid-air? When you fall, acting quickly is key and having a plan in place puts you in the best position for a quick reaction, the longer you hang there in your harness, the harder it will be for you to get back into the climbing tree stand!
The tree stand is an infinitely useful hunting tool; it provides you with the high ground and can multiply your hunting potential by giving you a line of sight which can stretch for several hundred yards. With a tree stand, however, it is easy to make a mistake which can cause you serious injury, remember, you are suspended several feet in the air above unfamiliar terrain. So whether you construct one yourself, or buy one from the shops, by taking the above safety considerations into account, you can prevent unnecessary injury.