Make tree stand safety a top priority this hunting season

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 10, 2015

With gun hunting season for deer opening this month, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is reminding hunters to make tree stand safety a top priority when in the field this season.

Following a few basic guidelines can help prevent injuries and ensure that hunters return home safely — a key message of the agency’s Home From The Hunt™ safety campaign. Guidelines include:

  • Maintaining three points of contact when climbing up or down a stand (most falls occur during this time).
  • Using a full-body safety harness properly at all times.
  • Checking belts, chains and attachment cords for damage and excessive wear before use.

“And always remember to follow manufacturer’s instructions on using tree stands correctly, such as heeding the manufacturer’s maximum weight settings,” said Chet Clark, eastern outreach manager with the Commission. “More people are hurt falling from tree stands than in any other type of hunting accident, yet tree stand-related injuries are usually avoidable.

“Last year, we had reports of 10 tree stand-related fatalities and/or injuries in the state, which is 10 too many. The more people we can reach with the Home From The Hunt™ message, the more likely these accidents can be avoided in the future.”

Other recommendations include:

  • Never carry anything as you climb — use a haul line to raise and lower an unloaded gun or other equipment after you are seated safely in the stand.
  • Have an emergency signal device, such as a cell phone, whistle or flare, readily accessible.
  • Let someone know where you plan to hunt and when you plan to return.
  • Select a healthy, straight tree for your tree stand.

Clark also recommends taking down a tree stand that has been out in the elements for an extended period of time and inspecting it carefully for rusted bolts, frayed straps and other issues that might cause the tree stand to fail. Replace an old, worn out tree stand with a new one, if need be.

“Your life might depend on it,” Clark said.

Tree stand safety is one of the key topics taught in Hunter Education courses, which are held throughout the state, year-round. Hunter education courses are free and required of all hunting license buyers, who must complete one successfully before they can hunt in North Carolina on their own, both on public and private land. Anyone of any age can take a Hunter Education course; however, the course is taught at a sixth-grade level and all participants must be able to pass the test without assistance.

For more information on Hunter Education courses, visit the commission’s website and click on the “Hunting” link.


For more information about tree stand safety, including types of tree stands and additional safety precautions, download our freepamphlet.