The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Home From The Hunt™ safety campaign is reminding hunters to be cautious when setting up tree stands prior to deer season.
“Every year someone is injured in a tree stand-related incident before deer season opens,” said Travis Casper, state hunter education coordinator. “We need hunters to practice tree stand safety at all times, not just during hunting season.”
If you are scouting a location or trimming shooting lanes and putting up your tree stand, even on a trial basis, use the same precautions you would during hunting season:
- Use a full body safety harness.
- Maintain three points of contact when climbing.
- Follow manufacturer instructions.
- Have an emergency signal.
- Tell someone where and when you plan to go.
Use a lineman-style belt in addition to a full body harness when first putting a tree stand in place. This minimizes the chance of falls and potential injury.
As with any piece of equipment, tree stands need inspection before use. Long-term placement, such as leaving your tree stand up from one season to the next, has some inherent problems that outweigh any convenience. Exposure to the elements will damage straps, ropes and attachment cords, and potentially lead to breakage and failure. Also, trees are living, growing things and change over time, affecting stability.
“If you have a tree stand that has been in place for an extended length of time, take it down,” Casper said. “Inspect it. Replace rusted bolts, frayed straps or, if needed, buy a new tree stand. Your life could depend on it.”
In North Carolina, all first-time hunting license buyers must successfully complete a Hunter Education Course, available for free across the state. Go to www.ncwildlife.org to consult the online version of the 2012-2013 N.C. Inland Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Regulations Digest or call 919-707-0031 for more information.