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Hunting from elevated stands can be a safe, effective method for taking game when hunters use good judgment and follow these recommendations.

  • Practice, practice, practice, beginning with your tree stand at ground level and gradually going higher. You must practice often as you may be going up and coming down in varying conditions. Know the proper procedure for securing a stand to a tree and for using the stand properly. Practice shooting from your stand while wearing your FAS.
  • Carefully read the manufacturer’s warnings and instructions that come with the stand, and save them to re-read each season before using your stand. (Notify the manufacturer if the instructions are missing or confusing.)
  • When climbing into or out of a tree stand, always use three points of contact with your arms and legs.
  • Keep a firm hold on the tree as you enter or leave a platform, and don’t let go until you’re certain that the stand and steps are secure.
  • Always position yourself so that you step down onto your tree stand. This will help you test the stability of the stand before placing all your weight on it. Stepping laterally onto a stand could cause it to tilt sideways or become unstable.
  • Always use tree stand products which have been manufactured (or certified or tested) to TMA standards. Don’t alter the tree stand. Look for stands that have a built-in or optional device for holding your firearm or bow, to keep hunting equipment safely stowed and within easy reach.
  • Only use stands rated for your full body weight including your clothing and all gear or equipment in the stand with you.
  • Always use a FAS that is manufactured to TMA standards and includes a full-body harness. Have the FAS attached to the tree from the moment you leave the ground, throughout the hunt, and until you return to the ground. Never become unattached.
  • Be especially careful when using self-climbing tree stands because you use the stand as a moving step to climb the tree.
  • Always use a haul line to bring your gear into your elevated stand and to lower your gear when you’re through hunting—don’t climb with a firearm or bow in your hand.