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You should use a fall-arrest system (FAS) that is manufactured to industry standards. Never use single-strap belts and chest harnesses—they can be deadly. Before hunting, carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use of your FAS and follow all safety guidelines.

Most tree stand falls occur when a hunter is climbing up or down a tree. Always use a properly fitting FAS that includes a full-body harness at all times when your feet are off the ground. This includes while climbing a tree, installing a tree stand that uses climbing aids, and hunting from a tree stand. (When using a ladder stand, attach your FAS to the tree and tighten the tether as soon as you reach the top of the ladder.)

  • Essential FAS Components: Make sure your FAS includes these components.
    • Full-Body Harness: The vest harness is a very effective style of full-body harness.
    • Tether: The tether attaches your full-body harness to the tree strap/belt or the tree stand safety line system and has a shock-absorbing feature.
    • Suspension Relief Strap: This strap provides a loop to stand in if you fall.
  • Additional FAS Components: Your FAS also must have additional components that you use to attach yourself to the tree.
    • Lineman’s-Style Belt or Climbing Belt: The lineman’s-style belt (or climbing belt) goes around the tree while you are climbing up and down the tree.
    • Tree Strap/Belt: The tree strap goes around the tree after you are in your tree stand.
    • Tree Stand Safety Line System: The tree stand safety line system is an alternative to using a lineman’s-style belt and a tree strap. When installed on a tree, a tree stand safety line system lets you remain attached to the tree with your FAS full-body harness and tether from the time you leave the ground until you return. A complete system includes these parts.
      • Safety Rope/Line With Prusik Knot: The rope/line goes around the tree and extends from the base of the tree to a point at, or above, head level when you are standing on the tree stand platform. The prusik knot on the rope/line is designed to slide easily with one hand. If you should fall, the knot will tighten around the rope/line to keep you from falling to the ground.
      • Carabiner: This metal ring connects the tether from your full-body harness to the prusik knot on the safety rope/line.