Tennessee’s statewide deer season officially began last weekend with the Saturday opening of the archery season and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is reminding hunters to use care when hunting from a tree stand.
Several tree stand accidents resulting in serious injuries have already been reported.
Many deer hunters find hunting from an elevated stand to be advantageous. It is often more difficult for a deer to detect a hunter in a tree stand than on the ground, and the TWRA is urging hunters to be cautious anytime they use a stand.
The most common cause of tree stand accidents is a fall. Most of these falls could be prevented with the proper use of a safety harness attached to the tree. Many of them occur when permanent, wooden stands, which have been left out in the weather attached to a tree, decay and become unsafe. Eventually, the weight of a hunter can cause the stand to collapse.
Other accidents reported this year occurred from the use of two-piece climbing stands where the lower portion has slipped causing the hunters to fall.
In an accident in Jefferson County, a man suffered a broken arm and hip injury while attempting to place a ladder stand against a tree. The stand slipped to the side causing both the stand and the hunter to fall to the ground. Wildlife Officer Wayne Rich is investigating the incident and offered these words of advice, “It is recommended to have at least three people when putting up a ladder stand. Someone to help brace the bottom could prevent these types of accidents.”
If possible, use temporary stands that may be stored in a dry area after the deer season. If a permanent stand must be used, always check it before hunting to make certain it is safe and securely attached. Whether using a permanent or temporary stand, always use a safety harness.
Ten rules for tree stand safety are:
1. Always wear a safety harness while hunting from a tree stand, including while ascending and descending.
2. Never climb into a permanent stand you have not built yourself or carefully checked out.
3. Never hunt from tree limbs.
4. Be sure the commercial stand you have is safe. Practice with it before using it in the woods.
5. Never climb a tree that is too small or too large for your stand to fit safely.
6. Be sure your stand is level at the height you wish to hunt.
7. Always stand up slowly and be sure of your balance.
8. Be sure you are steady and braced before shooting.
9. Always use a haul line for your bow. Never climb with your equipment.
10. Never climb a dead tree or one with dead limbs above your head.
Hunters should be aware that on Wildlife Management Areas the use of wire, nails, or other metal material is prohibited in building or attaching of climbing devices or hunting stands. Portable devices or stands that do not injure trees can be used. Hunting from permanent attached stands is prohibited. Leaving any personal property on a WMA, including tree stands, unattended for more than 24 hours is prohibited without prior approval of the area manager.