Elevated tree stands used for deer hunting are the number one cause of hunting-related injuries and deaths in the United States.
Deer Hunting can be Dangerous for the Hunter
According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, one in three people who hunt using elevated tree stands will experience a fall that results in injuries. Deer and Deer Hunting, a popular magazine for deer hunters, reports that 37 percent of deer hunters are injured by falls from unsecured, elevated tree stands. Deer hunters commonly use elevated platforms or tree stands to gain clearer shots through brush and trees. These stands are harnessed to a tree, then the harness is hooked to another harness on the hunter. When harnesses are not used, hunters can easily fall from the stand and suffer injuries, even death.
Tree stand accidents happen to deer hunters of all skill levels, but most are preventable. If hunters wear a full-body harness, stay connected to the harness and the tree, and properly inspect their equipment, tree stand accidents would be reduced significantly. To increase safety, hunters should follow some simple steps:
- Read the tree stand manufacturer’s instructions and warnings before using the stand
- Make certain the harness is attached correctly before climbing the ladder
- Practice climbing the stand before hunting season begins using all provided safety devices. Most falls occur when getting on, climbing, and getting off the stand.
- Use a haul rope to pull hunting equipment from the ground to the elevated stand, once the stand is properly positioned and the harness is properly attached to the tree.
- Be prepared if a fall should occur. Hunters should carry a relief strap or a screw-in step that permits comfortable hanging until help arrives.
Tree stand falls are very dangerous. Most hunters position the stand at least 10 feet off the ground and as high as 25 feet off the ground in some cases. A hunter who falls 25 feet with a bow and arrow or loaded firearm in his/her hands can easily suffer a serious injury or fatality from that height. Injuries can result from hitting tree limbs on the way down, falling into thick brush, or the impact of the fall itself. During winter temperatures, hitting the frozen ground would feel like landing on concrete. Hunting with elevated tree stands should be taken seriously by hunters of all ages and skill levels. Maximum safety precautions should be taken to stay safe.