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MADISON — One in every three hunters who hunt from a tree stand will fall at some point in their hunting career and of those, 75 to 80 percent occurs while ascending or descending the tree.
A recent study by the International Hunter Education Association showed that nationally, 300-500 hunters are killed annually in tree stand accidents and another 6,000 will have tree stand related injuries.
Wisconsin has had three reported fatal tree stand falls already this year, according to Jon King, hunter education administrator for the Department of Natural Resources.
“Tree stand incidents are one of the leading causes of injury to hunters so we strongly urge hunters to use follow safety measures when hunting from a tree stand,” King said.
Here are a few tips King offers for tree stand safety:
• Always wear a full body harness, also known as a fall arrest system, when you are in a tree stand, as well as when climbing into or out of a tree stand. Make sure it is worn properly. Tree stand harnesses have an expiration date and should be replaced when they expire and/or if a fall occurs, and a safety strap should be attached to the tree to prevent falling more than 12 inches.
• Always have three points of contact while climbing into and out of the tree stand; either two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand at all times.
• Always use a haul line to raise and lower your UNLOADED firearm or bow.
• Be aware of suspension trauma, a condition of light-headedness that can result in fainting from prolonged periods of standing. Suspension trauma can happen in less than 20 minutes and can be fatal. Attaching an additional foot strap to the body harness will take pressure off your upper legs.
More information on tree stand safety and on a free tree stand safety course is available by searching the DNR website for “tree stand safety.”