Archery season for white-tailed deer opens statewide on September 10th. Hunting from an elevated stand is a popular tactic used by deer hunters, especially archers, however tree stands can easily turn dangerous if not used correctly.
Law enforcement records from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission indicate that tree stand incidents accounted for 20% of hunting-related incidents in 2021. Unfortunately, that doesn’t account for incidents that were never reported.
“If using a tree stand, hunters should always use a fall-arrest system and follow the manufacturer’s recommended safety procedures,” said Carissa Daniels, the statewide education and engagement manager for the Wildlife Commission. “Those simple measures 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 your tree stand:
- Remove all your equipment and inspect it for damage before using it. This includes belts, chains, bolts, ratchet straps and attachment cords. Replace them if necessary.
- Wear a full-body safety harness as part of a fall-arrest system.
- Ensure you do not exceed the stand manufacturer’s maximum height or weight limits.
- Pack an emergency signal device, such as a cell phone, two-way radio or a whistle.
Setting up your tree stand:
- Share your stand location with someone before each hunt.
- Select a healthy, straight tree for your tree stand.
- Ask someone to assist you with setting up the stand.
Using your tree stand:
- Buckle your harness securely and connect to the tree tether before your feet leave 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 as you climb.
For information on the Wildlife Commission’s hunter education courses, the 2022-23 white-tailed deer season and limits and to purchase a hunting license, visit ncwildlife.org.