ARTICLES ON HEALTH
Tis the Season for Tree Stand Safety
A Message from Stone County Hospital
Each year when hunting season rolls around, hunters fall victim to tree stand accidents. Falls commonly occur when people are putting up, sitting in or taking down their stands.
The good news is that by taking a few extra steps, you can avoid or minimize these mishaps.
Choose a safe tree. Whenever possible, select a tree with at least a 12-inch diameter and that is as straight as possible. A height of 18 feet is ideal. Look for a tree with lots of branches to help add a safety buffer between you and the ground. Poplar trees can work as long as they’re big and healthy. Choosing a tree that is too large can also pose a risk in that you cannot properly secure your strap around the tree.
Mount the stand properly. This includes making sure that both the seat post and the platform are installed correctly. Neither should move at all. Consider reinforcing the strength and stability of the stand with a custom made ratchet to support the T-bolt and ratchet that come with your stand.
Take extra precaution installing and climbing stairs. Use an approved step system.. Ensure that each step is securely fitted to the tree. Make sure that it is stable enough to sustain reaching and stretching as you climb into and get out of the stand itself. Keep in mind bulky apparel you may be wearing as you set your distances between steps. Always maintain at least two points of contact and calculate each step. If you choose tree branches as steps, remember to grip the branch as close to the tree as possible to minimize chances of breakage.
Wear safety equipment and watch bulky apparel. Use a full body harness. Remember to clip your safety harness to the tree belt. Make sure the harness fits securely and that it is non-intrusive.
Use a tow cord to haul your gear. Once your stand is in place, mount a tow cord and drop it to the bottom of the tree to haul gear into the stand. Prior to taking your first step, make certain that your gear is fastened to the cord and move it to the opposite side of the tree. Your goal should be to move the tow cord out of the way of the steps.
Always unload and disarm your firearm, bow or crossbow. Many hunters miss this step in their quest to make that first shot and risk their guns or bows accidentally discharging, injuring themself or their hunting partners.
Make sure your stand and accessories are Treestand Manufacturers Association (TMA) approved. For a full list of approved merchandise and why TMA approval is so important, visit mastands.com.