Wear a Full Body Safety Harness and use a Climbing Safety Strap whenever your feet leave the ground.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife would like to remind hunters to wear a Full Body Safety Harness (FBSH) and use a climbing safety strap whenever their feet leave the ground. Tree stands (elevated platforms), are one of the most popular pieces of equipment used by deer hunters in Ohio and nationwide. However, due to human error and/or equipment failure, the number of debilitating or fatal injuries resulting from their use is higher than it should be. Statistically, one out of three hunters will fall from a tree stand at some point in his or her hunting career. Given that statistic it is imperative that the proper safety gear be used–and used correctly.

In the past, hunter education organizations stressed the need for hunters to use either a single waist belt or a chest harness that was directly attached to the tree with a strap or tether. Unfortunately, it has been found that a waist belt or chest harness can severely restrict a person’s breathing and upper body movements in the event of an unexpected fall. In some instances, these devices have even caused death because they failed to properly support the weight of a person who remained suspended for long periods of time after falling. Today, all hunter and hunter education organizations recommend wearing a Full Body Safety Harness that distributes the hunter’s weight throughout their shoulders, chest, waist and legs thus securely supporting a fallen person without causing added harm or injury.

Here are a few tips to help prevent accidents this hunting season.

  • Always use a FBSH and read manufacturer instructions before use.
  • Before using your FSBH in the field, practice using it at ground level.
  • Always use a climbing safety strap.  Most accidents occur when climbing up or down from a tree stand.
  • Never climb with anything in your hands.  Always use a haul line to raise and lower your equipment.

For more safety tips visit the Division of Wildlife’s Tree Stand Safety page or to check your knowledge of tree stand safety take a free, online Tree Stand Safety Course from The Treestand Manufacturer’s Association (TMA).

Logo courtesy Ohio Department of Natural Resources

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