Tree stands get hunters out of sight and smell of wary deer, but they can also get hunters into trouble. Here are some tips from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department to help you stay safe and get the most out of your tree-stand hunting experience:
Choose a live, straight tree.
Buy smart. Use stands certified by the Treestand Manufacturers Association (TMA).
Inspect the stand each time you use it.
Know the rules. On state lands, it is illegal to place nails or other hardware into trees or to build permanent structures. On private lands, you must have landowner permission to erect a tree stand, cut or remove trees or other plants, or cut limbs. All stands, including ground blinds, must be marked with the owner’s name and address.
Always wear a full-body safety harness. Most falls occur going up and down the tree and getting in and out of the stand.
Don’t go too high. The higher you go, the vital zone on a deer decreases, while the likelihood of a serious injury increases.
Never carry firearms or bows up and down trees. Always use a haul line to raise and lower gear. Make sure firearms are unloaded.
Familiarize yourself with your gear in advance. Opening day is a bad time to try safety gear for the first time.
Be careful with long-term placement. Exposure can damage straps, ropes and attachment cords. Also, the stand’s stability can be compromised over time, as the tree grows.
Hunt smart. Hunt safe. Wear orange!