Raleigh, N.C. Nov. 18, 2011 – Tree stand-related injuries are almost always avoidable, according to the Hunter Education Program of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, yet more people are hurt in tree stand falls than any other category of hunting incidents.

The Home From The Hunt safety campaign has made tree stand safety a top priority in North Carolina for the 2011-2012 hunting season. Hunter Education Program instructors will emphasize proper use of tree stands and elevated hunting platforms. Wildlife Officers have investigated two fatalities in connection with tree stand falls already this hunting season.

“Following some basic guidelines can prevent injuries and won’t interfere with a successful hunt,” said Travis Casper, the state’s acting hunter education coordinator. “Maintain three points of contact when climbing up or down; wear a full body safety harness at all times; and check belts, chains and attachment cords before use. Follow manufacturer’s instructions.”

Other recommendations include:

  • Never carry anything as you climb – use a haul line to raise and lower an unloaded gun or other equipment once you are safely seated in the tree stand.
  • Have an emergency signal (cell phone or whistle) and let someone know where you plan to hunt and when you plan to return.
  • Select a healthy, straight tree and don’t exceed maximum weight settings.

Tree stands should be inspected prior to use, especially if you have left your tree stand up for an extended period of time. Exposure to the elements will damage straps, ropes and attachment cords, and potentially lead to breakage and failure.

“Take the time to thoroughly check the stability of the stand and the tree it is attached to before you climb up,” Casper said. “Your life could depend on it.”

In North Carolina, all first-time hunting license buyers must successfully complete a Hunter Education Course, offered free across the state. Go to www.ncwildlife.org to consult the online version of the 2011-2012 N.C. Inland Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Regulations Digest or call 919-707-0031 for more information.

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