For most of us, “tree stand safety” is something we are aware of, but not concerned about unless it affects us on a personal level. We know it’s important to wear a safety harness every time when hunting, but, in reality, the majority of us do not.
Let’s look at some actual tree stand accident statistics from the Treestand Manufacturer’s Association (TMA) which will show you what could happen if you do not use the proper safety equipment while hunting.
Accident Statistics from 1998-2005
- 82 percent of hunters were not wearing any fall restraint.
- 75 percent of the falls were with hunters between the ages of 30 and 60 or an average age of 44.
- The average distance the hunter fell was 21.4 feet.
- 10 percent of the accidents involved home-made stands.
- 1 of 3 hunters will fall from a tree stand at some point during their hunting careers.
You should always reference an owner’s manual for safety tips on your specific stand, but here are some general tips as well that will help you this fall.
- Always wear and properly use a Full Body Fall Arrest Harness System (FBFAHS) that meets stringent, industry standards recognized by TMA. Wear an FBFAHS every time you leave the ground, including while ascending or descending.
- ALWAYS attach your FBFAHS in the manner and method described by the manufacturer. The tether should not have slack when sitting. Failure to properly attach your FBFAHS may cause you to be suspended without the ability to climb back into your tree stand. Be aware of the hazards associated with hanging suspended in a FBFAHS since prolonged suspension in a harness may be fatal.
- ALWAYS read and understand the manufacturer’s Warnings and Instructions before using a tree stand and FBFAHS each season.
- ALWAYS use a haul line to raise your backpack, gear, unloaded firearm or bow to your tree stand once you have reached your desired hunting height. Never climb with anything in your hands or on your back. Prior to descending, lower your equipment on the side of the tree opposite of your descent route.
- ALWAYS practice using your FBFAHS in the presence of a responsible adult prior to using it in an elevated hunting environment, and learn what it feels like to hang suspended in the harness at ground level.
- ALWAYS have a plan in place for rescue, including the use of cell phones or signal devices that may be easily reached and used while suspended. If rescue personnel cannot be notified, you must have a plan for recovery or escape. If you have to hang suspended for a period of time before help arrives, exercise your legs by pushing against the tree or doing any other form of continuous motion. Failure to recover in a timely manner could result in serious injury or death. If you do not have the physical ability to recover or escape, hunt from the ground.
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