Tree stands are a great way to take your hunt to the next level, but they also come with new dangers. Watch the video below for a refresher on how to stay safe in your tree stand.

Tree Stand Hunting Safety

Here’s a recap:

  • Unload your rifle and use a haul line to get your equipment safely into the stand. Always keep the firearm pointed away from you.

  • Wear your fall-arrest system from the time you leave the ground until you are back on the ground. This can include:

    • A full-body harness

    • A lineman’s-style belt or climbing belt

    • A lifeline system

    • A tree strap

    • A tether

    • A suspension relief strap

  • Practice three-point climbing: Always keep three points of contact with the tree or your ladder.

  • If you do fall, use your suspension relief strap and keep your legs moving.

  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions every time you use your tree stand.

Before you have a successful hunt, you have to get to your hunting spot safely. Do you know what to do when you’re loading your firearm into your truck?

How To Safely Transport Firearms

Always remember the primary rules of firearm safety: Keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction, and treat every firearm as if it were loaded. Make sure the safety is on and unload your firearm, remembering to check the action. Then put your firearm in its case. Remember to store your rifle or shotgun in the back seat or trunk of the vehicle. It’s a bad idea to display your firearm in a window gun rack—you’re just telling thieves what great gear you have! Be sure to know your state’s regulations for transporting firearms.

On the topic of gear, put some thought into the kind of case you will use. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type: Gun socks are lightweight but offer minimal protection; padded, soft-sided cases are light, but only offer a moderate amount of protection; and hard cases are sturdy but heavy. Buy the right gear to match your needs and your firearm.

A shotgun choke modifies the spread of the shot in order to gain better range, shot pattern, and accuracy. Which choke should you use?

There are three main types of chokes: full, improved cylinder, and modified.

A full choke creates a small, dense pellet pattern and carries a tighter spread at a further distance. An improved cylinder choke has a wider, less dense pattern, but isn’t effective at longer ranges. The modified choke falls between the other two, both in shot density and range.

The type of game you are pursuing and the type and size of shot you are using will determine which choke you need. For example, you can use an improved or modified choke when hunting doves, pheasant, or quail. If you are turkey hunting, a full or extra-full choke would be best.

Most modern shotguns come with screw-in choke tubes so you can change them out easily. The most important thing is to select a choke that will allow you to be effective in your shot. Take into consideration the range at which you’ll be shooting and the game that you are after.

Your distance from the target determines the choke you need. To learn more, check out these shotgun choke tips from Bass Pro.

These are the keys to using a tree stand safely.

  1. Pick a safe tree. Your tree should be alive, fairly straight, and very stable.

  2. Assemble your stand according to manufacturer instructions; bring the instructions with you to double-check as you go. Use a lineman’s-style belt or climbing belt during setup.

  3. Inspect your stand to ensure everything is in working order—every time you use it.

  4. Stay connected—always. Wear a full-body safety harness and use a lifeline the whole time you are off the ground.

  5. Carry a communication device like a cell phone in case of an emergency, and use the buddy system.

Before you leave the ground, watch the video below to make sure you’re following tree stand safety rules.

When selecting a tree for your tree stand, choose carefully. Look for a straight tree within the size limits of your tree stand, in the area in which you plan on hunting.

Always use your fall-arrest system (FAS), which should include a full-body harness, a lineman’s-style belt or climbing belt, a tree strap, a tether, a suspension-relief strap, and a lifeline. Remember, the FAS needs to be rated for your hunting weight, which is your weight plus the weight of your hunting equipment and gear.

Tree stands are a great tool for hunters, but you have to use them safely!
Set up your stand where you know the game you’re hunting will be. You can use a trail camera or look for animal signs when looking to place your stand for your hunt. Remember, don’t leave a permanent stand in a public hunting area.