From the Georgia Department of Natural Resources
-- Though commonly used by deer hunters everywhere, tree stands often are improperly installed and as a result, are considered the leading cause of hunting-related incidents.
According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, 52 percent of hunting-related incidents and 40 percent of hunting-related fatalities in Georgia over the past ten years were tree stand-related.
“Hunters must be intimately familiar with how to put up, take down and properly climb into a tree stand,” said Lt. Judd Smith, a Wildlife Resources Division Conservation Ranger. “We encourage all hunters to practice climbing into and out of their stand several times prior to the opening of hunting season.”
Different types of tree stands are available, and each type requires the user to be familiar with variations to ensure safety. Following are some tips:
● When using a non-climbing portable or ladder stand, hunters should securely fasten the stand to the tree and install ladders or steps according to the manufacturer’s directions.
● Hunters should use a safety belt or harness to secure themselves to the tree and not to the tree stand. If the stand were to break or collapse, a harness secured to a tree should prevent a fall.
● Hunters should have a plan on how to get down from the tree should the tree stand fail and leave them hanging from their harness. Harnesses should be attached to the waist, allowing 10-12 inches of slack between the tree and body. A full body harness is recommended instead of a simple harness or safety line.
● Hunters should use an equipment haul line to pull their gun or bow into or out of the stand. Firearms or bows should be unloaded before pulled into the stand.
● Staying awake and alert is important. Hunters should avoid taking medications that cause drowsiness prior to hunting. Also, never use alcohol or drugs before or while hunting.
● Hunters should always inform someone of where they are hunting and what time they expect to return.
For more information on tree stands or hunting-related safety, contact the nearest Wildlife Resources Division Law Enforcement office, visit www.gohuntgeorgia.com or call (770) 761-3010.