Treestand Safety: Essential Guidelines
Introduction to Treestand Use
Treestands offer an elevated perspective for hunters and wildlife photographers, enhancing their field of vision and improving the chances of a successful hunt or capturing that perfect shot. However, with the increased popularity of treestands, the number of related accidents has risen. Adhering to safety measures can significantly reduce risks and ensure a safe, enjoyable experience in the woods.
Planning and Preparation
- Manufacturer's Instructions: Always begin with reading and understanding the manufacturer's instructions for your treestand. Compliance with these guidelines is crucial.
- Ground-Level Practice: Before heading out, practice setting up your treestand at ground level with a partner. Familiarize yourself with the equipment, especially how to release the suspension and recover from a suspended position.
- Equipment Inspection: Each time before use, inspect your treestand and safety gear for wear or damage.
- Emergency Plan: Inform someone of your location and expected return time. Carry emergency gear, including a knife, cellphone, flashlight, and whistle.
- Full Body Fall Arrest Harness (FBH): Always wear an FBH when climbing, sitting, or standing in a treestand.
- Three Points of Contact: Maintain three points of contact (e.g., two hands and one foot or both feet and one hand) with the ladder or tree at all times.
- Centered Weight: Keep your weight centered over your belt buckle when climbing or standing.
- Haul Line Usage: Use a haul line to raise and lower your equipment. Ensure firearms are unloaded, and arrows are secured in a quiver.
In the Stand
- Height Restrictions: Do not place your stand higher than 16 feet above the ground to minimize injury risk in case of a fall.
- Continuous Attachment: Stay attached to the tree at all times, ensuring your tether has minimal slack.
- Tether Adjustment: Adjust your FBH tether to prevent hanging lower than your stand if you fall. The tether should allow minimal movement while seated.
If You Fall
- Immediate Action: Try to climb back onto your stand as quickly as possible.
- Stay Calm and Signal for Help: Keep calm and use your whistle or cellphone to signal for help.
- Leg Circulation: Use a suspension relief device or regularly push against the tree to maintain circulation in your legs until help arrives.
Education: Treestand Safety Course
- Online Safety Course: The Treestand Manufacturer's Association offers a free, interactive online course. Spending just 20 minutes on this course could provide essential knowledge for preventing accidents and might save your life.
- Product List: Refer to the Treestand Manufacturer's Association for a list of certified products. Using approved equipment is a fundamental part of treestand safety.
Treestand safety is paramount for anyone wishing to elevate their hunting or photography experience. By planning ahead, practicing, and adhering to safety protocols, you can enjoy the benefits of an aerial view while minimizing the risks. Stay informed, equipped, and cautious to ensure that each ascent is as safe as possible.