Safety When Using Tree Stands
Fall colors and leaves falling are like a fish taking the lure to the avid hunter. White tail deer season is fast approaching and hunters are scouting the land looking for indications of deer travel and also getting all their gear together for the hunt. Consider Lake of the Woods as one of your hunting destinations.
Now is the time to start thinking about safety using some simple guidelines, especially if you intend on using a tree stand. When it comes to tree stand safety, learn it, preach it, and – most of all – practice it yourself, because it’s easy to get overconfident and become careless. Always remain conscious of safety when you head to the woods.
One of the most common way hunters get hurt is by falling from a tree stand. Many of these falls happen getting in or out of a tree stand. It is important to be connected to the tree at all times. Take a few extra minutes this year to take that one extra step to be safe! Your life and well being may depend upon it.
The following is a description of some of the more well known types of tree stands:
Fixed position stands – these stands are designed to be placed on a tree trunk and remain secured in that spot.
Vertical ladder stands – this type of stand has a ladder that supports the shooting platform. The ladder is usually divided into short sections that can be assembled on site. The ladder “legs” extend at a slight angle out from the stand and tree trunk, and are secured to the trunk via supporting arms and belts.
Climbing stands – the most popular stand type, the climber is designed to “walk” up a tree trunk with the hunter to a desired elevation.
3 Point Rule
Follow the 3 Point Rule of tree stand safety. Always have 3 points of contact to the steps or ladder before moving. This could be two arms and one leg holding and stepping on the ladder or one arm and two legs in contact with the ladder before moving. Be cautious that rain, frost, ice or snow can cause steps to become extremely slippery. Check the security of the step before placing your weight on it.
Tree stand safety:
1. Always carry a cell phone and keep it on yourself. Don’t put it in a pack that you may take off and hang in the tree because if you fall you want your phone readily available to call for help.
2. Always install and maintain tree stands with at least one other person.
3. Check all your steps and straps and replace anything that is worn or weathered.
4. Always wear a full body harness when in a tree stand. Wear it properly.
5. Always use a rope to pull up your gun or bow.
6. Be aware of your surroundings and never shoot towards another hunter.
1. Become familiar with your firearm. Know how to carry it, load it, unload it, and know what to expect when you pull the trigger.
2. Always assume every gun is loaded and always point the muzzle in a safe direction. Never point your gun at another person.
3. Never put your finger on the trigger unless you intend to shoot.
4. Your firearm has a safety. Keep it in the ‘On’ position until you intend to shoot.
5. Be sure of your target and what is behind it before pulling the trigger.
There are so many different ways for a hunter to get injured or worse during the deer season, but more injuries and deaths are caused by falls from tree stands during the deer season than any other type of accident.
Wear Blaze Orange!
The visible portion of a cap and outer clothing above the waist, excluding sleeves and gloves, must be blaze orange when hunting or trapping during any open season where deer may be taken by firearms (including special hunts, early antlerless, youth seasons and muzzleloader). Blaze orange includes a camouflage pattern of at least 50 percent blaze orange within each square foot.
Some safety tips for nonhunters:
- Wear bright clothing. Choose colors that stand out, like red, orange or green, and avoid white, blacks, browns, earth-toned greens and animal-colored clothing. Blaze orange vests and hats are advisable.
- Don’t forget to protect pets. Get an orange vest for an accompanying dog.
- Make noise. Whistle, sing or carry on a conversation when walking to alert hunters that someone is in the area. Sound carries well across woods and forests, and hunters should listen for any sounds of animal movement.
- Be courteous. Don’t make unnecessary noise to disturb wildlife. Avoid confrontations.
- Make presence known. If a nonhunter hears shooting, the person should raise their voice and let hunters know they’re in vicinity.
- Know the dates of hunting seasons. Learn about where and when hunting is taking place.
- If hunting makes a nonhunter uneasy, the nonhunter should choose a hike in a location where hunting is not allowed.
It is a wonderful time of the year with so many traditions and memories past and yet to be made. Take a couple minutes of caution to ensure all the memories are positive ones. Good luck hunting!
To learn more about Lake of the Woods, check out the Lake of the Woods Tourism website.
To find a guide, charter boat or lodging, check out our lodging page.