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Illustration of injured hunter lying on the ground, who fell from a treestand and who was not wearing an FAS

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, always putting safety first.

  • Purchase a commercial stand that is manufactured, certified, and tested to industry standards.
  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions and watch the video that accompany the stand. Review this information each season before using the stand.
  • 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.
  • Use a tree stand only during daylight hours.
  • 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.
  • When climbing into or out of a tree stand, always use three points of contact with your hands and feet.
  • Keep 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.
  • Get enough sleep to ensure that you are well rested before using a tree stand.
  • Carry a signaling device, such as a whistle, radio, or cell phone, to let others know if you have a problem.
  • Take your time and plan every move you make while installing and using an elevated stand.
  • Check your stand carefully prior to each use. Do not leave a stand attached to a tree for more than two weeks.
  • Never exceed the weight limit of your stand or FAS. Remember that the weight includes you plus your equipment.
  • Do not climb with anything in your hands or on your back. Use a haul line.
  • Raise and lower all hunting equipment on the opposite side of the tree from your climbing route.

Tree Stand Hunting Safety

Press the play button (▶) above to start the video. Trouble with this video?

Video Transcript

On Screen: TREE STAND HUNTING SAFETY

Rob

Binoculars, license, breakfast …

Rob tests an animal call.

Rob

Grunt call. Right. My cell phone.

Now Rob is at a tree stand.

Rob

Do you remember the quickest and quietest way to get our gear up into the stand? It’s the haul line. A firearm needs to be secured a certain way. Never hoist a loaded rifle or shotgun into your tree stand. Never hoist a capped muzzleloader into your tree stand. And always keep the firearm pointed away from you. OK. A little help here?

Rob turns to the person holding the camera. Carabiners—belt—leg attachments—straps—tether. Each item checked, Rob begins to scale the tree stand. The cameraman taps him on the shoulder.

Rob

Oh, yeah. Three-point climbing.

In the tree stand, Rob points to a buck below and draws his bow.

On screen: YOU CHOOSE THE ENDING – ROB FALLS or ROB GETS DEER. A cursor selects ROB FALLS. Rob steps off the platform and is caught by his Fall Arrest System.

Rob

Oh, wow. OK. That was a little embarrassing. Keep your legs moving, though, so you can’t get blood pooling in them, which could cause my heart to work overtime. Not being able to pump blood back to the heart starves it of oxygen. And that could cause a heart attack. Always replace your tether line after a fall.

Rob climbs back onto the platform.

Rob

OK, that wasn’t so bad. It’s a good thing I had my fall arrest system on, though. Deer’s gone now. Great.

On screen, the cursor selects ROB GETS DEER.

Rob sees the buck approach and draws his bow.

Rob, whispering loudly

The horns are kind of crooked.

Rob draws and shoots, striking the deer.

Rob

OK. So waiting for the right shot and angle, that’s key. All right. We’re going to give him some time, and then we’ll go track him.

Rob climbs down from the tree stand.

Rob

So you know when you’ve had a successful hunt? It’s when you can do this.

Rob dials the phone.

Rob

Hey, honey. I’m coming home. See? Using tree stands can be safe when you follow the simple advice. Then you can hunt safely for years to come.