One of the biggest dangers that hunters face every season is a fall from a tree. While your placement on a tree stand high above the ground gives you better access, and often a better shot, you risk a fall if you’re not careful. Hunters have sworn off going back into the trees after a nasty fall, even six or seven years after. Be safe on your next hunt by following these tree stand safety tips.
Choosing a Stand
If you want to hunt from high up, you’ll need a good tree stand. There are several types to choose from.
- Climbing Stands: These help the hunter walk up a tree to the desired height.
- Hanging Stands: These are fixed to the trunk of the tree.
- Box Stands: Designed to be left behind and revisited on future hunting trips.
- Ladder Stands: These have a ladder, divided into short sections, that supports the shooting platform.
No matter what type of tree stand you choose, always check for wear and tear before heading into the tree. Additionally, be sure that the tree stand is properly secured to the tree. Any deterioration that you see should be taken care of right away to ensure your safety.
Choosing a Tree
The biggest tree that you see may not always be the best tree. Look for one that is healthy and has solid roots. Test this by hanging onto one of the low branches. If it snaps under your weight don’t trust the rest of the tree. Additionally, peel off some of the bark and ensure that it’s not too dry or too soft. Finally, the tree you choose should match the specifications for size and width that the tree stand manufacturer suggests. When you’ve found the perfect tree, be sure to clear the debris away from the bottom, just in case you or any of your gear falls.
Secure Yourself with a Harness
Always, always, always wear your body harness. There are too many stories about hunters that got up to their tree stand and then went to put on the harness, only to fall in the process. A full body harness keeps you safe so that you can keep hunting.
Managing Your Equipment
The trick to hunting from up high is to get to the tree stand safely. Many hunters will tell you that you shouldn’t try and climb while you’re carrying everything. Head up the tree with your harness on and phone in your pocket. For your gun and other gear, create a sack attached to a rope and pulley. Yes, this may mean that you have to climb the tree multiple times before you’re ready to start hunting, but this will ensure that you’re not overloaded and off balance.
The three point rule should be your rule of thumb when hunting from up high. Always have three points of contact when climbing up or down. This will be either two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot. Just another reason to climb first and then pull up your equipment.