Every year numerous hunters take to the woods in pursuit of the White-tailed deer.  As the season progresses conditions in those stands deteriorate as the snow and ice cover the equipment and cold weather numbs the fingers and feet.  Still most of the hunters will use a treestand.

Many injuries occur to treestand hunters in the stands and climbing into and out of them.  Most of those injuries are preventable with just a little common sense thinking ahead of time.

Hunters go high for a variety of reasons.  But, they seem to boil down to just a few basics.  The idea is to get above the deer’s line of sight and scent.  In early days of treestand use the premise was that 6 feet high would accomplish those purposes.   The idea that deer never look up soon gave way to experiences of deer seeing a treestand hunter and avoiding him/her.

Soon hunter moved up to higher positions and soon they were taking positions up to 15 or 20 feet off the ground.  The deer found that that there are other things in the trees besides the squirrels.

Aside from staying out of high stands, how else can one avoid injury?

To begin, inspect the stand thoroughly for flaws in workmanship.  If it is a permanent stand, check it thoroughly before the season begins and at least once during the season.  Replace any suspect steps.  Look for signs of rotting wood, loose nails, etc.  If they even look like they might not be sound, replace them with new materials.

The same common sense applies to the stand itself.  Check it for stability and soundness of construction.  In addition to the safety angle, check it for squeaks and creaking sounds.  Noise from a treestand will spook deer.  Make sure the stand is one in which you can be comfortable.  If one is uncomfortable in the stand, he will be tempted to move around in order to finds a more comfortable position.  Deer fix on movement and it spooks them.  The more one moves around the more the risk of falling out of the stand as well.

Falls from stands are the most preventable cause of accidents for hunters.  All one need due is invest in a safety harness or use the one that comes with the stand.   The best ones have nylon webbing and a 2-3 inch width on the straps which are adjustable.  It attaches to the tree not to the stand.  That way, if the stand gives way you still have protection.

The safety harness is vital in booth the permanent and portable stands.

In the purchase of a portable stand be aware that they are smaller allowing for less opportunity to shift positions for comfort.  If you have stand with a small seat and you have a big bottom you are not going to be comfortable.  Take from one who knows.

Portable stands tend to be flexible.  It is important to make the stand a part of the tree as far as stability is concerned.

Placement of the stand in a tree can be risky.  You must adhere to manufacturer instructions exactly.  They have many years of experience and their concern for safety is high.  They want you to be safe and to tell you how much you like their product.  Practice placement of the stand prior to the season.  In the pre-dawn light it not the time to learn how to enter and exit your stand and use the safety harness properly.

If you are using some kind of climbing steps or ladder, make sure they firmly anchor to the tree.  If using tree limbs to get to the stand make sure they are not rotten and present an easy pattern for climbing.

Place the stand in a position which allows you easy shooting with a minimum of movement and without having to lean away from it.  Clear shooting lanes ahead of the hunting time.  These will allow you open access to any area in which the deer are likely to travel.

Use a rope to lug all your gear up to you in the stand.  The haul rope should be about 3 feet longer than the distance from the ground to the stand.  Do not try to carry it up with you.  This includes not only your weapon but also all your other gear you need.  Be sure that weapons are unloaded when hauling it up.  Some items can be stored in a day pack.

Wait until firmly seated before hauling up your gear.  In that way you are not in danger of dropping the gear or worse yet falling on it.  Once the gear is up, find a way to make sure you securely attach everything to the tree or stand.  The idea is to avoid loose objects falling to the ground at the most inopportune time.  Also find a secure place for you weapon.

Never, repeat never; drink alcohol in a treestand or prior to entering one.  Alcohol alters ones perception and that can be fatal when perched on a small platform high above the ground.

Once the deer comes into view do not forget safety.  Move slowly into position taking care to avoid any sound and within the limits of the stand.

After the shot, or when the day’s hunt is over, it is important to do the safety measures in reverse.  Do not let being in a hurry to get home, or the anticipation of seeing and revering your trophy cloud your judgment as to safety.

Treestands are an effective hunting tool if used with common sense.  Being in one on a crisp morning is an experience that is a greater high than any artificial high.


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  1. Pingback: TREESTAND SAFETY FOR DUMMIES - AverageOutdoorsman

  2. We would be interested in reprinting this information for our magazine. Please email us regarding reprint permission.

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