Tree stand safety tips for the big hunt

“I always use a safety harness,” said Scott, an avid deer hunter from Wisconsin. Scott knows all too well how quickly a beloved pastime can turn to tragedy, recalling how his nephew broke his back falling from a tree stand. “I clip onto a rope connected to the tree before I even take one step up the tree,” he said. “And I stay clipped in until I’m back on the ground.”

Falls from tree stands continue to be the leading cause of injury for hunters. The good news is that these falls are preventable. Hunting from a tree stand allows you to have a better view of your target while avoiding detection from your prey, but take several safety precautions.

Use a full body harness
82 percent of hunters who fall from tree stands are not wearing a full body harness, according to the Tree Stand Manufacturers Association. Several models are available so you can find the best fit while making sure your movement is unrestricted.

Take a free online safety course
A few minutes of your time can test your knowledge and teach you a few things too.
Tree Stand Safety Course

Follow these additional tips
  • Purchase a tree stand with a large enough platform and seating area to help you feel more secure. Read any weight restrictions and plan accordingly.
  • Keep your hands free when climbing. Use a rope to haul up your firearm or bow. Always keep firearms unloaded until you are securely in place in your tree stand.
  • Select a healthy, straight tree that will work well with the guidelines outlined for your tree stand specifications.
  • Let people know where you'll be hunting, where your vehicle is parked, and when you intend to return. When possible, hunt with a buddy.
  • Carry a cell phone, walkie-talkie, or other means of calling for help.
  • Take your time and know your limitations. If it feels insecure or too high, it is.

Follow these tips and stay safe while enjoying the outdoors. For further tips and information, inquire with your state’s Department of Natural Resources or visit the Treestand Manufacturers Association website.