Utilize safe practices if hunting from tree stand

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N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

Raleigh – Since the 2017 hunting season, seven hunters in North Carolina have lost their lives in a tree stand incident. As deer season begins, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission reminds hunters to follow safety guidelines when hunting from a tree stand. 

“Tree stand accidents continue to be the leading cause of injury to hunters year in and year out,” said Chet Clark, the Commission’s recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) manager. “The majority of these accidents can be traced back to a lack of precaution, such as failing to use a fall-arrest system or not following the manufacturer’s recommended safety procedures.”

The Commission’s hunter safety education campaign, Home From the Hunt, and the Tree Stand Safety Awareness Foundation offer these tree stand safety recommendations:

Prepping Your Tree Stand

  • Before use, check the stand’s belts, chains, bolts and attachment cords for damage and wear. Replace them, if necessary.
  • Ensure you do not exceed the stand manufacturer’s maximum height or weight limits.
  • Purchase a full-body safety harness as part of a fall-arrest system.

 Tree Stand Set Up

  • Let someone know where you are setting up your stand ahead of time.
  • Select a healthy, straight tree for your tree stand.
  • Have another person assist with setting up the stand.

 Using Your Tree Stand

  • Always wear and utilize your harness and its tree tether to stay connected to the tree from the time you leave the ground to the time you return to the ground.
  • Maintain three points of contact, as most falls occur when climbing up or down.
  • When climbing or descending, use a lineman’s belt and/or lifeline.
  • Raise and lower equipment using a haul line – Never carry anything as you climb.
  • Bring an emergency signal device, such as a cell phone or a whistle.

Hunters can review a free tree stand safety course online. For more information on tree stand safety, visit the Tree Stand Safety Awareness Foundation webpage. For information on the Hunter Education Program, hunting seasons and Hunting Heritage Apprentice Permits, visit ncwildlife.org or call 919-707-0031.