From the Pennsylvania Game Commission
-- Because treestand use is such a popular part of deer hunting season, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is offering hunters a free, voluntary online treestand safety course on its website.
To take the course, visit the agency's website at http://www.hunterexam.com/treestandsafety/.
"Treestand safety has evolved as new research and statistics become available," says Keith Snyder, Game Commission Hunter-Trapper Education Division chief. "What were considered to be safe safety practices 10 years ago are simply not considered safe today. By reviewing this 15-minute interactive, narrated treestand safety course, a hunter will learn about the latest Treestand Manufacturers Association's safety standards and guidelines."
Snyder noted that in 2000, the Game Commission incorporated a specific treestand safety segment into its basic Hunter-Trapper Education course, which is required for all first-time license buyers regardless of age, as well as its voluntary Bowhunter education course.
"One of the key messages is the importance of a have and using a full-bodied fall restraint device or harness," Snyder said. "According to the Treestand Manufacturers Association, 82 percent of treestand-related deaths were attributed to the fact that the hunter was not using a fall-restraint devise."
Other treestand safety messages include:
. Avoid permanent stands; they weaken with age, damage trees and are eyesores.
* Use stands certified by the Treestand Manufacturers Association (TMA). They are commercially designed and tested to meet high standards.
* Read and follow manufacture's guidelines. Practice with stands before hunting.
* Inspect all stands and climbing equipment before each use.
* Select only suitable trees. Avoid dead trees or those with loose bark.
* Use a fall-restraint device, preferably a full-body harness, any time your feet leave the ground. This includes climbing up and down the tree. Choose a harness that will keep you upright and will not restrict your breathing.
* Make sure there is no slack in the fall-restraint tether when you are in a sitting position.
* Maintain three points of contact - at least two feet and one hand, or two hands and one foot - with the climbing system, ladder or tree at all times while climbing. And remember to use a fall restraint system, preferably a full-body harness, anytime your feet leave the ground.
* Use a haul line to pull up gear. If hunting with a firearm, make sure it is unloaded and the muzzle is covered! Never attach the line near the trigger or trigger guard.
* Use 3 persons to set-up any ladder-type treestand.
* In the event of a fall, be prepared to help yourself. Have someone contact authorities if you don't return at an established time.