Don’t Let Treestands be Your Downfall
Eight hunters have fallen from treestands so far in 2017, resulting in serious injuries and tragically, two fatalities. Since the next several weekends are traditionally very active ones for hunters, DGIF wants to stress that all treestand hunters need to be safe and stay attached by using a safety harness. Please review these basic safety precautions provided by DGIF’s Hunter Education Program Manager, David Dodson:
- Stay attached to the tree with a quality fall arrest system which includes a full body harness. Modern equipment allows you to stay attached whenever you are off the ground, while using any type of treestand.
- Plan ahead for a way to safely get to the ground if suspended by a fall arrest system. Cutting the tether is not a good idea.
- Keep the tether short so that, if you fall, you do not fall below the level of the platform. The safest method of self-rescue is usually to climb back onto an undamaged portion of the stand.
- Hanging in a safety harness gives you time to recover, but will eventually lead to unconsciousness and death. Stepping down on a suspension relief strap can relieve pressure and prolong consciousness.
- Be sure to replace straps and safety lines whenever they show signs of wear. Sunlight will degrade these materials and cause them to fail. It is best to frequently replace anything left outside, no less than once per year.
- Choose a straight, live tree of the right size for your stand. Avoid trees that have loose or slippery bark.
- Use a haul line instead of carrying anything into the stand and maintain three points of contact at all times (two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand). Guns and crossbows should be unloaded while being pulled up.
- Let someone know where you are going and keep some means of communication where you can reach it.
- Home-made stands should not be used. Nails rust, wood rots, trees sway and grow and pull nails through boards. It is almost impossible to engineer a stand as safe as those made commercially. Treestand Manufacturers Association (TMA) members must test their stand designs before putting them on the market.
“Hunting can result in wonderful memories that last a lifetime. Hunters should never take unnecessary risks when hunting from a treestand. A fall could mean serious injury, paralysis, or even death. Follow the basic safety steps above, and keep your memories safe.”
— David Dodson, DGIF Hunter Education Program Manager
More treestand safety information is available on the DGIF website.