Whether you’re a hunter or just someone looking for a new perspective on the Earth below, climbing into a tree stand can be either a safe and fun experience, or a dangerous endeavor. In fact, tree stand accidents are the leading cause of hunting-related injuries every season, and the key to avoiding a fall is simple common sense and safety. While it’s hard to teach common sense, fortunately there are some products that (used correctly) can tackle the safety side of the equation. Here are a few safety tips to remember before you ascend a tree and a selection of the most reliable and comfortable tree stand safety harnesses available.
Wear a Harness
A tree stand is only as good as the tree it’s attached to. Look for any signs of rot or other indication that a tree is damaged before you even climb it and select a healthy, live tree of the appropriate diameter described by the tree stand manufacturer. The majority of treefall accidents occur when hunters are climbing up or down a tree. Don’t leave the ground unless you’re wearing a safety harness. This is the best way to avoid being hurt because the vest distributes the forces of the plunge.
Tree stands aren’t difficult to use, but each one has its own nuances. Attach yours to a tree at ground level and simulate your hunting routine until you’re totally comfortable before heading up a tree. It’s also not a bad idea to attach your safety straps and ropes to the tree and suspend yourself in your harness a few inches off the ground so you know what it feels like and that it’s strong enough to support your weight. Any difficulties you have will only be amplified at zero dark thirty and 15 feet in the air, so be sure to practice as much as possible before you venture up for the first time.
Use a Haul Line
Don’t carry a bunch of stuff up with you when you’re climbing into your stand, especially a backpack. Instead, attach your gear to a rope and pull everything up once you’re safely in your seat. More than anything else, make sure your gun is unloaded or your arrows are safely stored in a quiver before lifting them off the ground.