Keeping you safe when using a tree stand
There's no doubt about it, gear and equipment quality and current conditions are vital for safety when you are using a tree stand as it was explained previously; however no matter how good and well maintained your gear is, there will be always a risk of accidents is you don't behave properly, so at the end of the day, most of safety responsibility is just on you!
That's why it's important not only to check your gear and be sure everything is working properly, but also keep thinking safe when using your tree stand, otherwise there's a real risk of danger every time you use your stand.
Perhaps many hunters might believe that safe thinking is a matter of complicated rules and procedures, but that's far from reality! In fact, most of safety thinking (and behaving) is about common sense.
However it worths to remember some basic safety principles when using tree stands for hunting:
1. Pay attention when climbing or get down from the stand
Most of tree stand accidents occur when hunters are climbing to or getting down from the stand. On this regard is very important to keep all your senses on the task when going up or down from the stand, following basic safety measures such as three point contact.
No matters what, when you are climbing towards your stand or descending from it, it's mandatory to have three contact points with ropes or ladders. That means two feet and a hand or two hands and a foot. NEVER avoid three points contact due the high falling risk.
Additionally remember to wear non-skid soles boots and check for ice or wet on ladders before using them. Just a small slip will compromise your grip and lead to an accident!
2. Always use a harness
Perhaps you are a very experienced tree stand hunter, but gravity does not make differences among experienced and rookie hunters and all of them are attracted towards land!
So you must EVER use a safety harness attached to a good quality, well placed safety rope, otherwise there's a real risk of falls and injuries (even death!)
3. Keep your hands free when climbing!
Sometimes hunters try to climb to their stand with all of their gear on their hands or back. That's a tremendous mistake!
Extra weight as well too many elements to deal with will change your balance and compromise three points contact, increasing your odds for an accident.
Instead of carrying everything with you, just go up freely and use a haul line later to raise or lower your gear and apparels. Perhaps it will take a little longer, but it's a million times safer!
4. Muzzle down!
All guns and firearms must be moved unloaded and with their muzzle pointing downwards. No matter how many times you have repeated the operation and how much practice you have, it's critical to follow this rule.
Never move guns to or from the stand if they are loaded. Remember to put on all safeties and keep their muzzles pointing down all along the process.
5. Never get asleep
It seems weird but after climbing accidents, getting asleep is the second leading cause of tree stand accidents. So do whichever you need to stay alert. If you are to able to do so and begin to feel drowsy, it's better to get down from the stand.
It's better to keep feet on solid land when you are drowsy. There will be a new chance for a catch later but if you fall down and get injured, that chance might never arrive!
Being aware of the above mentioned safety measures will keep you alive and injuries free, it's a matter of common sense but time to time people tend to forget about it.
Finally remember to practice climbing up to your stand at low height until you are comfortable enough to do it safely once on the final height. Move slowly, with no rush; that way you will be safer, after all you will expend long hours on the stand, so there's no hurry!