Tree Stand Safety
Every Year there are people hurt while using a treestand. Here are some safety measures that will help and hopefully none of you will be part of that statistic.
There are many different manufacturers of treestands and a wide variety of types. It is not always best to buy a second hand stand from someone. If you do make sure you check it for any damage. Check for cracks or bends that do not belong there. A good source of information on how well a treestand works is some verteran hunters that use them regular. Almost all manufacturers will be more and glad to answer any questions you may have about their stands.
Read The Instrustions:
The first thing you should do after purchasing a new treestand is to read the instructions till you understand them. If you know someone that uses that same type and style of stand have them help you familarlize yourself with the new stand. There is no exception for ignorance of operation of your stand.
Pick The Right Tree:
Picking the right tree to hang a treestand is just as important as knowing how to use the stand properly. Safe trees have strong, straight trunks, with no dead tops or limbs that could fall and injure a hunter from the wind. Trees with medium-rough bark such as oaks hold stands very well. Rough bark trees such as shell-bark hickory, or smoothbark like beech trees can cause the stands to slip. Only hang your stand as high as you feel comfortable with. 12 to 18 feet should be adequate depending on terrain of area that you are hunting.
Safe and Secure Footing:
You should always make sure the steps leading to the stand itself are free of snow and ice. Ladders and steps can usually be cleaned off by a gloved hand. Step surfaces can be coated with a skid resistant tape to allow better climbing surface. The floor or surface of treestand should also be clear of snow and ice to ensure a proper footing.
Safety Belt or Harnesses:
Safety Belts and Harnesses are NOT an option for treestand hunters they are a NECESSITY. Many stands come new with belts and harnesses supplied with the stands. Many of Todays belts and harnesses come in many different designs. Hunters need to read the instructions that are included with your safety device and be familar with the proper use of the device. 18 feet in the air is no place to learn how to use it.
When purchasing your treestand be sure to look for the Treestand Manufacturers Association sticker. Always practice with your new treestand at ground level before ever using it out in the woods to hunt out of. Always learn what your new treestands strengths and limitations are.
Always use a full body harness if possible for your safety strap. If you must use a safety belt make sure it is strapped right at your underarms and not your waist. The attachment of your belt or harness around the tree should be above you and and around the main trunk of the tree. It should also offer a little slack.
Purchase and use climbing aids that allow you to stay securely to something solid the whole time you are off of the ground.
When installing ladder stands, tie two lengths of rope to the platform that will reach the ground when the stand is in place. Then with the assistance of someone raise the stand into position. Before climbing the ladder fasten the support bar to the main trunk of your tree, then tie the ropes to trees behind the stand and that will keep platform in place till fastened to the tree.
Use a safety restraint while hanging treestands. They make the job easier and safer. Inspect stands and safety gear before each use for flaws and weaknesses.
Stay out of unfamilar permanent treestands.
Be careful when using smooth bark trees such as aspen, birch, maple and hickory. Don't use branches for climbing and never step on a dead branch, no matter how secure it may look.
Always use a rope to hoist and lower your gun, bow and equipment up to stand once you are settled in and ready. Never modify a commercialy made stand or safety device. It was designed that way for a reason.
HUNT SAFELY AND GOOD LUCK
BY Ron Beason
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