Wildlife Commission reminds hunters to practice tree stand safety

Published 11:03 pm Friday, October 12, 2018

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission reminds hunters to follow safety guidelines when hunting from a tree stand.

“Tree stand accidents are the leading cause of injury to hunters every year,” said Chet Clark, the commission’s eastern outreach manager.

“Most of these accidents are avoidable. Always remember to wear a fall-arrest system and use it properly,” Clark added. “Also, follow your tree stand manufacturer’s recommended safety procedures. This little bit of precaution can mean all the difference when out in the field.”

The commission’s hunter safety education campaign, Home From the Hunt, offers these tree stand safety recommendations:

• Ensure you do not exceed the stand manufacturer’s maximum height or weight settings.

• Before use, check the stand’s belts, chains, bolts and attachment cords for damage and wear.

• Select a healthy, straight tree for your tree stand.

• Set up the stand with another person.

• Let someone know where you are setting up your stand ahead of time.

• Bring an emergency signal device, such as a cell phone or a whistle.

• Use a full-body safety harness at all times, and remain connected to the tree from the time you leave the ground to the time you return to the ground.

• Use a lineman’s belt and/or lifeline with a proper knot when climbing or descending.

• Use a haul line to raise and lower equipment. Never carry anything as you climb.

• Most falls occur when climbing up or down a stand, so always maintain three points of contact.

“Take your time, be prepared, and don’t cut corners when hunting from a tree stand,” said Clark. “If you’re properly equipped and using the equipment as it’s intended, chances for an accident are reduced drastically. The goal is to enjoy the hunt, but ultimately to come home safely.”

Hunters can review a free tree stand safety course online.

For more information on the Hunter Education Program, hunting seasons and Hunting Heritage Apprentice Permits, visit ncwildlife.org or call 919-707-0031.