Archive for the ‘Treestand Safety’ Tag

TREESTAND SAFETY FOR DUMMIES   3 comments

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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.

TREESTAND SAFETY SAVES LIVES   Leave a comment

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The reports of deer stand injuries and fatalities are beginning to trickle in as the season cranks up. Years ago hunting injuries due to shootings were quite high.  Then hunters began to take hunter safety courses and use treestands.  The fatalities declined.  Still injuries resulted from falls from treestands.  There are no really accurate records of treestand injuries in particular.

In a seminar presented at the SEOPA annual conference at Fontana Village Resort by Jay Everett, Hunter Safety Systems another aspect of treestand safety became apparent.

Jay presented data pointing out treestand accidents do not all come as a result of falling out of the stand. To the contrary, 86% are the result of falls while getting into and out of stands.  This can be ascending and descending or stepping on to and off of the stand. He explains that we have come a long way in treestand safety with the acceptance of harness systems in the stand.  The main problem now is that people ignore the need to remain connected going into and coming out of the stand.

Everett recommends the use of a lifeline to stay connected to the tree. The Life Line he recommends is one made by Hunter Safety Systems that makes use of a prusik knot.  Everett stresses the need to keep the knot above your head in both ascending and descending from a treestand.  He also recommends pulling pack and weapons up by a haul line after behind securely established in the stand.

Other safety precautions recommended are always let someone know exactly where you will be hunting and keep your cell phone with you and turned on. Of course you should never pull loaded firearms up the haul line and be sure to keep the muzzle pointed toward the ground.  During, before and after the season inspect all your equipment for wear and tear that might lead to failure.

The goal of everyone is to reach zero death and disability from hunting related incidents. The life you save may be your own.

 

USE EXTRA CARE IN TREESTAND   Leave a comment

Treestand accidents account for over half of all hunting accidents in my home state of Illinois.

L.J. Smith spent many years studying the medical records surrounding treestand accidents.  He reached some common sense conclusions as to what hunters need to do in order to enjoy a safe hunt.

Read on before placing your treestands this summer.

Here are some of Smith’s conclusions and recommendations.

Most hunting accidents are preventable.  You need only to act in a responsible manner.  If you take the time to plan necessary precautions you will enjoy a safe day afield.

L.J. finds that one of the big mistakes people make is getting in a hurry.  They want to maximize the amount of time spent in place to take advantage of hunting time.  Being in a hurry they ignore safety which in turn leads to trouble.

One of the more common problems people in a hurry have is falling through the ladder and getting a leg caught.  It frequently leads to a broken leg.

A fatal mistake hunters can make comes from failure to wear a fall arrest system.  According to Smith, “If one wears a full body fall harness and maintains contact with the tree at all times he will not hit the ground.”  A person falling from 20 feet up a tree hits the ground at 25 miles per hour.

Another mistake is constructing a homemade wooden stand in a tree.  In Smith’s study approximately 50 percent of the accidents reported were from homemade tree stands.  This comes from rotten wood and nails that pull out of the tree.

Smith explains that the problem with home made stands comes where the legs contact the ground.  The moisture in the ground seeps up into the wood and speeds up the rot.  Using treated wood does not avoid this problem.  Wood treatments involve the outer part of the board more then the center.  Moisture seeps up the center part of the wood and rots it from the center out.

Smith feels a home made treestand should never be used.  He points out that modern treestands are available for nearly the same amount of money.  In addition a treestand that is TMA (Treestand Manufacturers Association) certified has been thoroughly tested for safety and durability in one of their testing centers.  The centers put stands though tough tests and reject any that do not meet the minimum safety standards.  Some 38 companies send their products to be tested.

Smith indicates that a treestand must be comfortable.  If it is not, you will not use it.  The ones on the market range from basic metal to panned ones that are very comfortable.  You can get as fancy as you prefer.

The same is true of the full body harness safety systems that come with the treestands or are available as an after market item.  They are in small, medium and large but are adjustable within those ranges.  Most have a weight certification marked on the unit.

Remember to be sure you are attached to the tree from the time your foot leaves the ground until you return.  Smith also wants you to have the tree strap above your head so that the life line attached to the harness is tight when you are seated.  One should just be able to feel a tug when seated.  When you stand it comes down to the middle of your back and not below the waist.  If you do fall out of the stand it will only be a fall of about a foot.

Smith suggests that new treestand owners take it out back and place it in a tree about 4 feet above the ground.  Then test the harness by falling out of it with the system attached and under the supervision of another person.  Hunters do not need to go out in the woods and fall out of a stand without knowing what to expect.

One case studied by Smith was of a hunter in that situation who panicked when he was unable to get back into his stand.  He unfastened the leg straps.  The harness rode up around his throat and suffocated him.

It is vital that one make sure the treestand is properly and securely installed.  Keep the harness system on while on the stand as well as while getting in and out.  Unloaded firearms and bows should be brought to the stand via a haul line.  They should not be in your possession while climbing in and out of the stand.

Keeping Smith’s research in mind may make your hunt this year, safe and secure.

THE HOW AND WHY OF TREESTAND ACCIDENTS   11 comments

Treestand accidents account for over half of all hunting accidents in my home state of Illinois.

L.J. Smith spent many years studying the medical records surrounding treestand accidents. He reached some common sense conclusions as to what hunters need to do in order to enjoy a safe hunt.

Read on before placing your treestands this summer.

Here are some of Smith’s conclusions and recommendations.

Most hunting accidents are preventable. You need only to act in a responsible manner. If you take the time to plan necessary precautions you will enjoy a safe day afield.

L.J. finds that one of the big mistakes people make is getting in a hurry. They want to maximize the amount of time spent in place to take advantage of hunting time. Being in a hurry they ignore safety which in turn leads to trouble.

One of the more common problems people in a hurry have is falling through the ladder and getting a leg caught. It frequently leads to a broken leg.

A fatal mistake hunters can make comes from failure to wear a fall arrest system. According to Smith, “If one wears a full body fall harness and maintains contact with the tree at all times he will not hit the ground.” A person falling from 20 feet up a tree hits the ground at 25 miles per hour.

Another mistake is constructing a homemade wooden stand in a tree. In Smith’s study approximately 50 percent of the accidents reported were from homemade tree stands. This comes from rotten wood and nails that pull out of the tree.

Smith explains that the problem with home made stands comes where the legs contact the ground. The moisture in the ground seeps up into the wood and speeds up the rot. Using treated wood does not avoid this problem. Wood treatments involve the outer part of the board more then the center. Moisture seeps up the center part of the wood and rots it from the center out.

Smith feels a home made treestand should never be used. He points out that modern treestands are available for nearly the same amount of money. In addition a treestand that is TMA (Treestand Manufacturers Association) certified has been thoroughly tested for safety and durability in one of their testing centers. The centers put stands though tough tests and reject any that do not meet the minimum safety standards. Some 38 companies send their products to be tested.

Smith indicates that a treestand must be comfortable. If it is not, you will not use it. The ones on the market range from basic metal to panned ones that are very comfortable. You can get as fancy as you prefer.

The same is true of the full body harness safety systems that come with the treestands or are available as an after market item. They are in small, medium and large but are adjustable within those ranges. Most have a weight certification marked on the unit.

Remember to be sure you are attached to the tree from the time your foot leaves the ground until you return. Smith also wants you to have the tree strap above your head so that the life line attached to the harness is tight when you are seated. One should just be able to feel a tug when seated. When you stand it comes down to the middle of your back and not below the waist. If you do fall out of the stand it will only be a fall of about a foot.

Smith suggests that new treestand owners take it out back and place it in a tree about 4 feet above the ground. Then test the harness by falling out of it with the system attached and under the supervision of another person. Hunters do not need to go out in the woods and fall out of a stand without knowing what to expect.

One case studied by Smith was of a hunter in that situation who panicked when he was unable to get back into his stand. He unfastened the leg straps. The harness rode up around his throat and suffocated him.

It is vital that one make sure the treestand is properly and securely installed. Keep the harness system on while on the stand as well as while getting in and out. Unloaded firearms and bows should be brought to the stand via a haul line. They should not be in your possession while climbing in and out of the stand.

Keeping Smith’s research in mind may make your hunt this year, safe and secure.

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