MONTPELIER, Vt. – Tree stands get hunters out of sight and smell of wary deer, but they can also get hunters into trouble. Here are some tips from Vermont Fish & Wildlife to help stay safe and get the most out of your tree stand hunting experience:
•Choose a live, straight tree.
•Buy smart. Only use stands certified by the Treestand Manufacturers Association (TMA).
•Inspect your tree stand each time you use it.
•Know the rules. On state lands, it is illegal to place nails or other hardware into trees or to build permanent structures. On private lands, you must have landowner permission to erect a tree stand, cut or remove trees or other plants, or to cut limbs. All stands, including ground blinds, must be marked with the owner’s name and address.
•Always wear a full-body safety harness, even for climbing. Most falls occur going up and down the tree and getting in and out of the stand.
•Don’t go too high. The higher you go, the smaller the vital zone on a deer becomes, while the likelihood of a serious injury increases.
•Never carry firearms or bows up and down trees. Always use a haul line to raise and lower all gear. Make sure your firearm is unloaded, crossbow cocked but unloaded, and be sure broadheads are transported in a hard case.
•Familiarize yourself with your gear before you go. The morning of opening day is a poor time to put your safety belt on for the first time.
•Be careful with long-term placement. Exposure can damage straps, ropes and attachment cords. Also, the stand’s stability can be compromised over time, as the tree grows.
September is Tree Stand Safety Awareness Month! “Hunter education instructors want you to be safe this coming season,” said Nicole Meier, information and education specialist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “Falls from tree stands are a major cause of death and serious injury to deer hunters, but they are preventable by always wearing a full-body harness and staying connected to the tree.”
Learn more about Tree Stand Safety Awareness Month here: http://tinyurl.com/TreestandSafetyAwareness