Tree stands are a very useful invention that has helped archers all over get more animals, however; every year there are 1000’s of people hurt and even some killed while using a tree stand. This is an ever growing issue as people buy tree stands and fail to get familiar with it or read the instructions on how to use them. So to help make sure that you greatly reduce your chances of getting hurt or worse, here are some safety precautions to keep in mind that will help keep you safe.
There are many different tree stand company’s and a wide range of tree stand designs. It is not advised to buy a second hand tree stand off of somebody without first checking it over. Make sure you check it for any damage or excessive wear. Check for cracks or bends that do not belong there. If you’re looking for information as to how different tree stands perform there is a wealth of information on hunting forums or other hunting websites. Almost all manufacturers will be more and glad to answer any questions you may have about their stands.
READ THE INSTRUCTIONS
As men most of us know very little of the term Instructions. For most of us when we get new things the first thing we do is take out the product and throw the rest away. Well for those of us who are guilty of that, in this case reading that piece of paper or booklet called the instructions could keep you from spending hours in the hospital or save your life.
The first thing you should do after purchasing a new tree stand is to read the instructions till you fully have an understanding of them. If you know someone that uses that same stand have them help you familiarize yourself with the new tree stand.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT TREE
choosing the right tree to hang a tree stand is just as important as knowing how to use the stand properly. The ideal trees to look for have strong, straight trunks, with no dead tops or limbs that could fall and injure a hunter from the wind. Trees with medium-rough bark such as oaks hold stands very well. Rough bark trees such as hickory, or smooth bark like birch trees can cause the stands to slip. Your tree stand should be put at a height of 12 to 18 feet as this is adequate for most hunting scenarios.
BE AWARE OF YOUR FOOTING:
You should always make sure the steps or ladder leading to the stand itself are free of snow and ice. Ladders and steps can usually be cleaned off by a gloved hand. The steps or rungs of the ladder should be coated with some no slip tape to provide you with a better and safer surface to work with. The floor of the tree stand should also be clear of snow and ice to ensure a proper footing(it wouldn’t hurt to put non slip tape on it as well).
Basically put hunting without a safety belt and harness is just asking for trouble , you may get lucky a few times but you will end up getting hurt. Safety Belts and Harnesses are NOT an option for tree stand hunters they are a NECESSITY. Many stands come new with belts and harnesses supplied in the box that the tree stand comes in.
Today’s belts and harnesses come in a variety of designs in order to fit your hunting style and preference. You need to read the instructions that are included with your safety harnesses/belts and be familiar with the proper use of each of them. I can tell you right now that 18 feet in the air is no place to learn how to use them.
When buying your tree stand be sure to look for the Tree stand Manufacturers Association sticker. Always familiarize yourself with your new tree stand at ground level before using it out in the woods. Always learn what your new tree stands strengths and limitations are.
If you can, always try to use a full body harness. If you must use a safety belt make sure it is strapped right at your underarms and not your waist. The attachment of your belt or harness around the tree should be above you and around the main trunk of the tree. There is no need to have to have the belt/harness so tight that you can’t move, make sure that there is enough slack to allow you to move easily and yet not too much to be unsafe.
When installing ladder stands, or even using a ladder make sure that it is on level ground and that the ladder/stands are safely tied to the trunk of the tree to prevent them from shifting or falling over.
ALWAYS use a safety restraint while putting up your tree stand. They make the job a whole lot easier and safer. You will also want to inspect both the stands and safety gear before each use for flaws and damage that could have occurred.
Always use a rope to hoist and lower your bow and equipment up to stand once you are settled in and ready this will leave you with both hands for climbing and will cut down on the chance of you hurting yourself with your weapon. Never modify a commercially made stand or safety device. It was designed that way because it produces the optimal performance.
All in all this is nothing more than common sense, even though today its not very common but if you use it it will make your hunting trip and experience a lot safer and enjoyable.