Tree Stand Safety
Tree stand and elevated platform hunting involve a degree of risk. Falls from tree stands can cause serious injury—even death. Hunting from elevated stands can be a safe, effective, and enjoyable method for taking game when hunters use good judgment and follow a few simple precautions.
- Practice, practice, practice, beginning with your tree stand at ground level and gradually going higher. Know the proper procedure for securing a stand to a tree and for using the stand properly.
- 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. Regularly inspect tree stands for defects, weakness, or excessive wear.
- Be aware that tree stand placement is critical for safety. Select only trees that are alive and straight and have rough, tight bark. Never place tree stands on utility poles or on trees with smooth or loose bark, such as sycamore, birch, or hickory.
- 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 do not let go until you are 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.
- Always use tree stand products that have been manufactured (or certified or tested) to TMA standards. Do not alter the tree stand.
- 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.
- 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 are through hunting.
- Never climb with a firearm or bow in your hand.
- Never raise or lower a firearm, bow, or crossbow unless it is unloaded, points down, and has the safety engaged.