- Get ready for hunting “Above Ground” during the Summer Months
- Get a full body harness, then learn how to use it
- Carry a cellphone or signaling device
By Bob Holzhei
Each year, thousands of hunters are injured in tree stand accidents. In fact, according to the Treestand Safety Awareness Foundation (TSSA), there are about 4,000 emergency room visits each year due to tree stand falls.
Don’t wait until hunting season arrives to practice tree stand safety. Now, the summer months, are the ideal time to begin practicing to get ready for the fall hunt. When fall arrives, safety measures will become part of your routine.
As I got older, I gave up hunting from a tree stand and purchased a 10 by 10-foot hunting shack and loaded it onto my hay wagon. The insulated shack is heated with a Big Buddy Heater and is comfortable. My wife added, “You can go out there and sleep overnight whenever you want!”
There are a number of tree stand safety guidelines which will help educate hunters and are excellent suggestions to review prior to a yearly hunt.
First – Use a full-body fall arrest harness system, the meets stringent, industry standards. Wear the harness system every time you leave the ground, including ascending or descending from the tree stand. Single strap belts and chest harnesses are no longer allowed. Serious injuries including death have occurred each year.
Second – Attach a Full Body Harness System according to the manufacturer’s directions. The tether should have no slack when sitting. Failure to do so may result in suspension without the ability to recover to your Treestand.
Third – Always “read, review, understand and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.” If questions arise, contact the manufacturer.
Fourth – Always use a haul line to raise your backpack, gear, and unloaded firearm or bow to the Treestand. Prior to descending, lower the equipment on the side of the tree opposite your descent route.
Fifth – Practice using your Full Body Fall Arrest Harness System in the presence of a responsible adult, prior to using it in an elevated hunting environment. Learn what it feels like to hang suspended in the harness at ground level.
Sixth – Have a plan for recovery, escape, and rescue, including the use of a cellphone or signal device for use while suspended. If you are suspended before help arrives, exercise your legs by pushing against the tree. If you do not have the ability to recover or escape, hunt from the ground.
Approaching the age of 74 the hunting shack provides a comfortable place to hunt!