Archery season for white-tailed deer opened Sept. 11 statewide. As deer hunters prepare for their first outing, whether it’s archery this weekend or black powder or gun season later this year, it’s imperative to prioritize hunter safety.
Hunting from an elevated stand is a popular tactic used by hunters, especially archers. However, tree stands can easily turn dangerous if not used correctly. During the fall of 2020, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission received 10 reported tree stand incidents – one which was fatal. In all instances, the individuals were not wearing a safety harness, and this doesn’t account for the tree stand incidents that were never reported.
“Hunters should always use a fall-arrest system and follow the tree stand manufacturer’s recommended safety procedures,” said Carissa Daniels, the Wildlife Commission’s outreach manager. “Those simple measures can go a long way in helping hunters stay safe while hunting with a tree stand.”
The Wildlife Commission’s hunter safety education campaign, Home From the Hunt, and the Tree Stand Safety Awareness Foundation offer these tree stand safety recommendations.
Preparing to use a tree stand:
Remove all equipment and inspect it for damage before using it. This includes belts, chains, bolts and attachment cords. Replace them if necessary.
Purchase a full-body safety harness as part of a fall-arrest system.
Ensure users do not exceed the stand manufacturer’s maximum height or weight limits.
Pack an emergency signal device, such as a cell phone or a whistle.
Setting up the tree stand:
Share the stand location with someone before each hunt.
Select a healthy, straight tree for the tree stand.
Ask someone to assist with setting up the stand.
Using a tree stand:
Buckle the harness securely and connect to the tree tether before leaving the ground.
Maintain three points of contact when climbing the ladder; two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand. Most falls occur when climbing up or down.
Use a lineman’s belt and/or lifeline when climbing or descending.
Raise and lower equipment using a haul line – never carry anything when climbing.
For information on the Wildlife Commission’s hunter education courses, white-tailed deer season and limits and to purchase a hunting license, visit ncwildlife.org.