If you were to imagine the most likely way you might injure yourself during hunting season, what would that be? Some might say snake bites while others could anticipate rolling an ankle while traversing rough terrain. Though both of these are possibilities, the leading cause of injuries during hunting season is actually attributed to something else entirely.
Falls from treestands make up the bulk of injuries suffered by hunters during whitetail deer season. Although these falls happen with alarming frequency, they are actually preventable which makes suffering such a fall completely unnecessary. By applying an ounce of prevention to your treestand usage routine, you can ensure your safety throughout the season, making it so that you come back uninjured each time you set out.
For starters, your treestand should be sturdy and well built. You want something that can support your body with ease. Be sure the stand you are using is one that has been approved by the Treestand Manufacturers Association (TMA) as these meet a certain standard of production and safety. Treestands made prior to 2006 were not subjected to these guidelines and may not offer the same performance and security.
Before you begin using a treestand, it is vital that you know how to do so. Reading instructions should be a part of your routine every year as brushing up can prove invaluable. If you are using the same stand as in years past, give it a thorough assessment for damage. During storage, you may find that parts of your stand have rusted or cracked, rendering it unsafe. If you notice this along with missing nuts or bolts or any other signs of excessive wear, that stand may been to be replaced. It is also important to stay on top of recalls as known failure points are generally addressed in those and your stand could be repaired or replaced free of charge whereas ignoring recalls could result in a stand failure.
Other steps you can take to ensure treestand safety include always using the safety harness. Maintain three points of contact at all times and ensure the tree you are using is strong and healthy. Always use a haul line and make sure your gun or bow is unloaded when climbing up to or down from your stand and use a short tether while in the stand. Be extra careful in conditions where it may be wet or snowing as this could make stands slippery and more difficult to maintain balance.
Photo: Grandview Outdoors
Additional safety measures include always letting others know where you will be hunting and at what time you intend to return. Also share with them the location of your stand. This way help will be sent if for any reason you fail to return on your planned timeline. Also advised is keeping a charged cell phone, whistle, air horn, or a similar device on you so you can call for help as needed.
In order to give yourself the biggest safety advantage in using a treestand, it is important to use it correctly at all times. Keeping precautions at the forefront of your mind will help ensure you come back home in the same position in which you left. If you feel your treestand skills could use some brushing up, a free treestand safety course can be taken here.
Will you be using a treestand this season? Do you have any tips you'd like to share? Let us know in the comments.