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Down-to-earth Deer Hunting

By Frank Allen

-- The most popular method of hunting white-tailed deer is from an elevated stand, but for those who don’t wish to climb a treestand, you can hunt deer and not leave the ground.

Actually, the easiest and most economical choice is hunting from the ground.

Ground blinds are gaining popularity because they offer a safe and productive alternative to hunting from an elevated stand. Other means of gaining viewpoints are also available, such as using natural elevations like mountaintops or bluffs to your advantage.

Many deer are also harvested each year by hunters who never stop moving. They slip around through the woods and try to detect the deer before the deer sees them.

Elevated stands are considered essential by some hunters because of the superior vantage point they provide. If you choose this method of deer hunting, always remember to wear a full-body safety harness.

The 2010-2011 hunting season in Alabama yielded 17 reported treestand accidents, five of which were fatal. Thankfully, the 2011-2012 season yielded no fatalities, but there were nine reported treestand accidents.

Tree stand-related injuries are preventable, and treestand safety is emphasized during hunter education classes.

Treestand manufacturers must construct high quality products that are safe and easy to use. Detailed instructions and safety precautions accompany every new treestand and they should be followed. Parents should consistently remind younger hunters to always wear a full-body safety harness and exercise extreme caution when entering and exiting an elevated stand.

Parents should also practice what they preach. Full-body safety harnesses should be used by everyone who uses an elevated stand.

Periodic treestand maintenance and checking safety equipment like straps and harnesses are the hunters’ responsibility.
Overall, hunting is a safe activity. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, hunting equates to one injury per 2,000 hunters compared with football, which reports one injury for every 19 participants.

Elevated stands can be an effective tool when deer hunting. Hunters must use common sense and follow safety recommendations to ensure the hunt remains safe.

As a hunter, if you don’t feel comfortable in a treestand, explore other options of hunting from the ground.

--By Frank Allen, Area Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries

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