Published: 19 June 2017 
 Last revised: 28 October 2017

What are the keys to safely using a tree stand?

Hunting season has arrived, and you’re ready to find your own tree stand for the wilderness, however, there are safety precautions to be taken. What are the keys to finding a good hunting tree stand? Have you inspected your tree stand and checked for loose ends in your safety harness? Consider all factors to enjoy your hunting season in safety.

Become familiar with your trees stand

With so many different kinds of tree stands available, it makes sense to become familiar with the tree stand you’re going to use through the hunting season.

  • If it’s a fixed position stand, check if the stand is firmly secured to the tree trunk
  • Permanent stands are likely to remain in place for several seasons. These styles are prone to weathering effects, including rust and negligence. Check for any form of deterioration before attempting to climb a permanent stand. Also, hunters make adjustments to suit their climbing styles. Inspect every element to ensure these stands are secure
  • It’s likely you’ll come across a climbing stand. In this case, follow the path and walk up the tree trunk all the way to the elevated stand
  • A vertical ladder stand usually has a ladder that leads up to the shooting platform. Check to see if the ladder can be assembled close to your hunting sites. There may be several sections available that combine to assemble a ladder supported by the tree trunk. This ladder is slightly inclined towards the top. The bottom portion is at the maximum distance away from the tree

Get the best safety harness

To be absolutely sure you are comfortable and safe throughout this hunting season, a hunting safety harness is an absolute must. Become familiar with the way the harness allows you to maneuver on the tree stand. Consider the weight of your backpack, firearm, bow, and other hunting essentials you’ll carry up to the stand. Choose a safety harness that is strong and easy to wear, and carry with you. It must be customized enough for you to feel comfortable, For example, feel the comfort level offered by padding at the shoulders and waist. Make necessary adjustments to ensure you don’t feel more weight on one side.

Also, check if the included tether is rugged enough to prevent injury in case you fall. The harness has several pockets for your hunting gear and has built-in straps to hold your binoculars. An all-in-one safety harness must include a linesman’s rope, carabiner, crossover harness, suspension relief, safe line, and tree strap. Weighing around 2 lbs., this lightweight safety harness must be able to take a load of around 300 lbs.

Follow tree stand safety rules

Once you are familiar with your tree stand and have a good safety harness, make plans to ensure you are always in touch with someone you know.

Having somebody aware of your location is important in case of emergency. Carry your standard hunting kit with you; however, there is a need to also carry emergency tools like a whistle, cellphone, flashlight, and first aid kit. It is important to remember that safety procedures issued by government bodies must be followed on any hunting trip.

Assemble your tree stand at a comfortable height

For example, you will get a clear view of your target from a height of around 20’; there is no need to go higher up. You’ll only be increasing the odds of having a fall that may lead to a serious injury. Check the bark of the tree; if it looks unhealthy and easily peels off, it’s best to try a healthier tree. Tug on to the harness to check if it has a firm grip on the bark.

Manufacturers regularly update their hunting gear offerings. Make sure you have the latest hunting gear including enhanced safety features. New designs are introduced based on environmental conditions including load-bearing capacity of the trees. Paying a few dollars more for safe and secure tree stand equipment is actually a good investment, and will result in a successful hunt.

Practice self-rescue techniques

This involves understanding how the relief strap works with your safety harness. In the event of a fall, you must be able to quickly get yourself into an upright position. The safety strap is designed to get you into that position; however, practice a few times to ensure you are aware of how the harness works. Check out the owner’s manual. Learn about knot systems that allow you to stay attached to the tree at all times.

Avoid carrying your hunting gear with you as you climb up the tree

You can always use a haul line to pull up your hunting gear including backpack, bow, firearm, and safety equipment. These tools are designed to work from an elevated position and can withstand sufficient pressure on impact. The haul line is designed to withstand sufficient load and will not snap when you pull up your hunting gear.

The hunting process itself may not be as dangerous as the climb. This is where safety procedures must be followed. Your expertise at hunting may not help you avoid a dangerous fall, but your choice of safety harness and other equipment will eventually save you from serious injury. Follow the safety process listed out for each element of your hunting gear.

These are the keys to safe hunting tree stands. Follow them, and you will remain safe in your hunting expeditions. Hunters like to test their climbing capabilities; it’s a matter of confidence. Nevertheless, it’s your responsibility to be fully prepared for a hunting expedition that can last anywhere from a few hours to several days in the wilderness. Tree stand locations are popular hunting destinations; just ensure the tree stand you choose is as safe as the last one you successfully climbed. Follow these safety precautions listed above. Your loved ones will be assured of your safety at all times, and you will always return from a successful hunt.

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