10 Treestand Safety Tips
As the hunter from above, you will get both the advantages and dangers involved when using a tree stand. According to DDH (Deer and Deer Hunting), 1 in 3 hunters who use tree stands may experience a fall using one themselves with 3% of each experiencing permanent injuries. You can prevent fatal injuries and come back home safely after each hunt by using these 10 important tree stand safety tips.
1. Pick The Right Tree
Always make sure the tree you’ve chosen is straight, healthy, alive and not prone to damage. Depending on the type and manufacturer of the tree stand, the size, specifications, and restrictions may differ so always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for tree size.
For climbing-treestands, you should always choose a tree that has strong and grip-able bark so the teeth can dig in better. Dead or smooth bark on trees is not suitable because the tree stand may not get a good hold on the tree and may move around as you shift your weight.
2. Wear A Safety Harness
A good quality safety harness with a tether can save you from a fall that leaves you with permanent injuries or even death so don’t go hunting in a tree stand without one. Never let the tether come in front of your neck as it could restrict oxygen if you happen to slip.
If you do fall with a harness on, suspension trauma can be your next danger if you can not get back onto the tree stand platform. Suspension relief straps can help you to avoid this danger and keep your legs raised as much as possible until help can arrive.
3. Use A Safety Belt With Harness While Climbing
A safety belt or tree belt attached to the hip of your harness makes climbing a tree much safer. The belt will apply pressure to the opposite side of the tree to hold you from a backward fall. Always make sure that any straps used while climbing is properly positioned.
If you’re using a tree stand with a ladder the belt may not be necessary but stabilizing straps may be. The stabilizing straps secure the ladder to the tree so the ladder doesn’t wobble or shake while you are climbing it.
4. Inspect Your Safety Equipment Regularly
Expiration dates on harnesses or other safety equipment should not be ignored so make sure to always replace outdated equipment. You can normally find expiration dates on the manufacturer tags or in the manual.
Check to make sure stitching and materials are free from wear or damage before using them each time. Don’t use equipment that has any type of rips in them and don’t try to make the repairs yourself. Your best bet is to just buy a new one.
5. Inspect Tree Stand Attachments & Ladders
If your treestand and attachments go unmoved for too long, the stand or other attachments may become rusted and prone to breaking. Properly inspect the welds and other parts of the tree stand or ladders while ensuring the straps are also in good condition.
Trees will grow over time as well, so any straps or points of the tree stand to make contact may grow into the side of the tree. Don’t attempt to use the tree stand if this happens because your equipment can become damaged or frayed making them dangerous to climb.
6. Use A Haul Line To Lift Gear Into Your Treestand
Carrying firearms and other heavy equipment up a tree while climbing is extremely dangerous and shouldn’t be attempted. Once you are up in your tree stand, use a haul line to move the gear up to you.
While you’re getting your gear up to you, make sure you are sitting securely in your seat and don’t make drastic reaches to get your gear, especially when it’s heavy. Heavy gear can pull you off the side of your tree stand if you are not careful.
Make sure your firearm is unloaded, safety is on and the action is open. Never secure pull-up straps near the trigger and secure the strap near the stock so the muzzle or firing end of the gun is pointed down.
7. Inform Family or Friends Of Where You Are
There should always be at least one or two people that know the exact location of your tree stand so they can send help to you if needed. If possible, have a hunting buddy with you or ready to help you.
Having a 2-way radio, cell phone, GPS locator or whistle in your pockets will get help to you sooner in case of an accident or slip while you are climbing. If you’re hunting at night, carry a flashlight on you so you can find your way through the woods and signal others.
8. Follow the 3-Point Rule Of Climbing
The most secure way of climbing is to always ensure that you have 3 secure points of contact to the surface you are climbing whether it is a ladder or tree. Before moving your free hand or leg to the next position, secure the other 3 points.
Make sure the 3 points you have secured are on a stable surface that will not rock or move. Also, make sure your grip is strong and the surface will not crumble under your hands to make you fall. Wet and slippery surfaces can also pose a risk so wipe them dry if possible.
9. Use Caution When Dealing With Hazardous Conditions
It is very unwise to climb anything when it is slippery, wet or very cold so always check what the weather will be like. Consider having a weather application on your cell phone that will update you immediately when a storm is rolling in.
Early morning dew can not always be avoided but you can try to combat slips by wearing tough and grippy gloves. Another idea would be to bring along a dry towel that you can use to wipe off ladders or your gloves with.
Don’t go out climbing when you are feeling dizzy or ill in any way. Medications or alcohol can also have an effect on your ability to stay stable in your tree stand or have good judgment while climbing so avoid using your tree stand when necessary.
10. Climb Slowly and Steadily
If you’re going to be sitting in the tree stand for a long time anyway, you might as well take your time getting up especially when many mistakes happen when you’re in a hurry. Don’t rush yourself and always be cautious.
Leave early if you are planning on making it up your tree stand in time and don’t risk reaching too far for a ledge, branch or ladder rung. Improper judgment and impatience can cause you to miss your target and not get a proper grip.
Owning and using a tree stand can be dangerous in many ways but you can stay safer by using these different tree stand safety tips. Continue to practice using your tree stand safely and never risk your life while using them. Good luck hunting and as always, stay safe.