Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tree stand safety is the hunter's responsibility

The following isn’t my handwriting but it’s certainly of important value now that Ohio has begun its long archery deer-hunting season.

The information involves tree stand safety: a vital and potentially life-saving topic for any deer hunter who climbs higher than a footstool above the ground.

And as a person forbidden on orders from every doctor I see, my physical therapist along with Bev, my wife, to ever again enjoy the view from a tree ladder stand I pass this information along for your continued participation in our beloved sport.

Ladies and gentlemen, a fall from a tree stand is seldom pretty and as likely as not will result in injury and possibly, death.

Here, then is some sound tree stand safety advice presented by the Treestand Manufacturers Association via TenPoint Crossbows of Akron.

Accident Statistics from 1998-2005

  • 82% of hunters were not wearing any fall restraint.
  • 75% of the falls were with hunters between the ages of 30 and 60 or an average age of 44.
  • The average distance the hunter fell was 21.4 feet.
  • 10% of the accidents involved home-made stands.
  • One of 3 hunters will fall from a tree stand at some point during their hunting careers.


You should ALWAYS reference an owner's manual for safety tips on your specific stand, but here are some general tips as well that will help you this fall.

  • ALWAYS wear and properly use a Full Body Fall Arrest Harness System (FBFAHS) that meets stringent, industry standards recognized by TMA. Wear an FBFAHS every time you leave the ground, including while ascending or descending.
  • ALWAYS attach your FBFAHS in the manner and method described by the manufacturer. The tether should not have slack when sitting. Failure to properly attach your FBFAHS may cause you to be suspended without the ability to climb back into your tree stand. Be aware of the hazards associated with hanging suspended in a FBFAHS since prolonged suspension in a harness may be fatal.
  • ALWAYS read and understand the manufacturer's WARNINGS and INSTRUCTIONS before using a tree stand and FBFAHS each season. 

  • ALWAYS use a haul line to raise your backpack, gear, unloaded firearm or bow to your tree stand once you have reached your desired hunting height. Never climb with anything in your hands or on your back. Prior to descending, lower your equipment on the side of the tree opposite of your descent route.

  • ALWAYS practice using your FBFAHS in the presence of a responsible adult prior to using it in an elevated hunting environment, and learn what it feels like to hang suspended in the harness at ground level.

  • ALWAYS have a plan in place for rescue, including the use of cell phones or signal devices that may be easily reached and used while suspended. If rescue personnel cannot be notified, you must have a plan for recovery or escape. If you have to hang suspended for a period of time before help arrives, exercise your legs by pushing against the tree or doing any other form of continuous motion. Failure to recover in a timely manner could result in serious injury or death. 
  • If you do not have the physical ability to recover or escape, hunt from the ground. (JLF note – Amen to that! I’ve been doing this for several years and take multiple animals every hunting season. It can be done.)

-       Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

-       JFrischk@Ameritech.net

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