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Official Montana Hunting Safety Course Link to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Hello, hunter! Montana's online hunting course has moved. Click here to go to the latest version of the Today's Hunter in Montana course—the official hunting safety course of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

The following course material is for reference only. Please go to the new course to complete your Montana certification.

Tree Stand Safety Tips

Merely climbing into or out of a tree stand or other elevated platform to hunt puts you at risk. Long hours spent waiting in a stand, as well as poor safety techniques, can lead to accidental falls. To protect yourself, use good judgment and follow these recommendations.

  1. Purchase a commercial stand that is manufactured, certified, and tested to TMA standards.
  2. Read the manufacturer’s instructions and watch the video that accompany the stand. Review this information each season.
  3. Attach your FAS to the tree while at ground level, and keep it attached throughout your hunt—from the time you leave the ground until you get back down.
  4. Use a tree stand only during daylight hours.
  5. Practice first with your tree stand and FAS at ground level, using all safety devices that were included with the stand. Then continue to practice, gradually going higher.
  6. When climbing into or out of a tree stand, always use three points of contact with your hands and feet.
  7. Hunter using a haul lineKeep a firm hold on the climbing system as you enter or leave a platform, and don’t let go until you’re certain you are secure.
    • Stay tethered to the tree while moving onto or off the platform.
    • Step on the center of the platform when entering the stand.
  8. Do not climb with anything in your hands or on your back. Use a haul line to raise and lower equipment.
    • If using a firearm, unload it and open the action.
    • If using a bow, put the arrows in a covered quiver.
  9. Get enough sleep to ensure that you are well rested before using a tree stand.
  10. Carry a signaling device, such as a whistle, radio, or cell phone, to let others know if you have a problem.
  11. Take your time and plan every move you make while installing and using an elevated stand.
  12. Check your stand carefully prior to each use. Do not leave a stand attached to a tree for more than two weeks.
  13. Never exceed the weight limit of your stand or FAS. The limit includes your weight plus your equipment.
  14. ALWAYS tell someone where you are hunting and when you will return.
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Official hunting safety course for Montana hunters last modified: November 16, 2011
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