Deer hunting season is under way. Hunters who use tree stands need to be aware of some safety tips. Over the last five years, 182 hunting accident reports have been filed by the DNR with 100 of those involving falls from a tree stand.
Before the hunt, it is important to know your equipment. Check your stand as well as straps and chains to make sure they are working properly. Make sure you select a healthy, straight tree that is the right size for your stand. Avoid using climbing stands on smooth barked trees. During the hunt make sure you are harnessed to the tree as soon as you begin to climb up to the stand. Always raise and lower your firearm, bow or other equipment with a haul line. Make sure firearms are unloaded before attaching to a haul line. Don’t attach the haul line near the trigger or the trigger guard.
If you happen to fall, stay calm. Be prepared ahead of time to have emergency equipment such as a knife, cell phone, flashlight or whistle on you. Practice the three R’s: recover, relief and rescue. Attempt to recover and return to your stand. If that is not possible, exercise your legs by pushing against the tree, using another form of motion or your suspension relief device until help arrives.