According to the National Bowhunter Education Foundation, 3 in 10 hunters who use elevated stands will suffer an accident at some point in their hunting career. Those odds aren’t good.
Face it: Even though we know a fall could be dangerous, many hunters believe “an accident will never happen to me. I’ll be OK without a harness.”
The National Bowhunter Education Foundation also reports that 82 percent of hunters who have a tree stand accident weren’t using a safety harness.
Here’s the truth: Only Superman can defy gravity, and you are not Superman. A fall from a tree stand can result in serious injury or death.
To learn more about the nasty results of falling from a tree stand, we spoke with Dr. David Argo, an avid hunter and orthopedic surgeon for Beacon Orthopaedics in Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. Argo has not only operated on hunters who have fallen from stands, but has experienced a fall himself.
“I’m convinced that most hunters don’t grasp the severity of these types of falls until they experience them firsthand. Trust me, I’ve worked on many victims that have to live with mobility implications the rest of their lives because they didn’t wear a harness, or they tied a thin rope around their waist line,” said Argo.
What’s the take-home lesson? It can happen to you. Take the necessary precautions to stay safe in the stand. Hunter Ed recommends following a few important safety tips when hunting from tree stands.
Tree Stand Safety Tips:
- Take your time; there’s no rush. Climbing into and out of stands is dangerous and should be done with great care. Make sure you maintain three points of contact at all times. The three-point rule should always be used in conjunction with a lifeline system, climbing belt or lineman’s-style belt.
- Wear a fall-arrest system, which should include a full-body harness, a lineman’s-style belt and/or climbing belt, a tree strap, a tether, and a suspension relief strap. This hunter safety system will prevent you from falling to the ground if you slip out of your tree stand.
- Use a haul line to pull up your gear. Climbing with a backpack or firearm strapped to your back is NOT SAFE! Once you are in the stand and fastened to the tree, you can pull your gear up.
- Know your limits. Become comfortable with the stand you are in, and know the location of cables and other potential obstructions that could trip you up if you move around the stand.
Tree Stand Hunting Safety
Follow these safety tips and you’ll be able to enjoy many more hunts.