The tree stand is one of the most popular pieces of deer hunting equipment. Tree stands can be dangerous if they are used incorrectly or carelessly. Nationally, one in three hunting injuries involves a tree stand. Accidental falls from tree stands can have a variety of causes including failure of the stand itself and incorrect installation. Hunters may fall asleep while on their tree stands, or may be injured while handling a loaded firearm during the process of climbing in and out of their stands.
ALWAYS wear a Fall-Arrest System (FAS)/Full Body Harness meeting TMA standards even during ascent and descent. Be aware that single strap belts and chest harnesses are no longer the preferred Fall-Arrest devices and should not be used. Failure to use a FAS could result in serious injury or death.
ALWAYS read and understand the manufacturers Warnings and Instructions before using the tree stand each season. Practice with the tree stand at ground level prior to using at elevated positions.
ALWAYS inspect the tree stand and the Fall-Arrest System for signs of wear or damage before each use.
ALWAYS practice in your Full Body Harness in the presence of a responsible adult what it feels like to hang suspended in it at ground level.
ALWAYS attach your Full Body Harness in the manner and the method described by the manufacturer. Failure to do so may result in suspension without the ability to recover into your tree stand. Be aware of the hazards associated with Full Body Harnesses and the fact that prolonged suspension in a harness may be fatal. If you have to hang suspended for a period of time before help arrives, exercise your legs by pushing against the tree or doing any other form of continuous motion. Failure to recover in a timely manner could result in serious injury or death.
ALWAYS hunt with a plan and if possible a buddy. Before you leave home, let others know your exact hunting location, when you plan to return and who is with you.
ALWAYS carry emergency signal devices such as cell phone, walkie-talkie, whistle and flashlight on your person at all times and within reach while you are suspended in your FAS. In the event of an accident, remain calm and seek help immediately.
ALWAYS select the proper tree for use with your tree stand. Select a live straight tree that fits within the size limits recommended in your tree stand instructions. Do not place a tree stand in a leaning tree.
ALWAYS use a haul line to pull up your gear and unloaded firearm or bow to your tree stand. Never climb with anything in your hands or on your back. Prior to descending, lower your gear on the opposite side of the tree.
NEVER use homemade or permanent elevated stands, or make modification to purchased tree stands.