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MADISON – With Wisconsin’s archery and crossbow deer season opening Saturday, Sept. 13, state recreational safety specialists are reminding hunters it’s time to think tree stand safety.
Tree stands can greatly enhance a deer hunter’s chances of seeing and bagging a deer, especially during the archery season when hunters want a clear shot at a close distance. But tree stand incidents are one of the leading causes of injury to hunters, according to Jon King, hunter education administrator with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
“The good news is such falls are easily preventable,” King said. “You can continue to gain the benefits that hunting from a tree stand delivers — increased field of vision and avoiding detection by your prey — while reducing your risk of injury if you follow a few simple safety tips.”
• 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. 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 is available by searching the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for “tree stand safety” to view videos and take a “Free” Tree Stand Safety Course.