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Author Topic: Hunters urged to use caution when using tree stands  (Read 873 times)

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Offline mudbrook

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Hunters urged to use caution when using tree stands
« on: September 24, 2009, 08:11:30 AM »
An owl landing less than a foot away from your face. A mother and baby porcupine waddling across the forest floor. Squirrels jumping from tree to tree. Deer munching apples near an orchard. These are some of the most memorable outdoor experiences that can occur while hunting in a tree stand.

But the recent death of a Wisconsin man after falling out of a tree stand while bear hunting has officials with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources urging (DNR) caution as the state's hunting seasons gets underway.

What goes up must come down, so the key element to safely hunting from a tree stand is coming down, how and when you choose to, not when the law of gravity makes the decision for you, said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Enforcement Education Program coordinator.

A 2007 study of more than 850 Minnesota hunters who use tree stands indicated that 60 percent know someone who was injured in a tree stand fall. In addition, 84 percent of those who fell required medical attention.

Expect it will happen to you, Hammer said. As long as you take all necessary safety precautions, you will likely walk away with only a few scratches.

Hammer said there are several precautions tree stand hunters should take to make certain their hunt is one they can walk away from. The most obvious is to use a safety harness at all times. Since most falls occur while climbing or descending, have one on from the time you leave the ground until you return. These are readily available and reasonably priced; probably the best safety investment you can make.

In Minnesota no person may take deer from a constructed platform or other structure that is higher than 16 feet on either public or private lands. This restriction does not apply to a portable stand that is chained, belted, clamped, or tied with rope. However, a bad fall resulting in injuries can take place whether the stand is 10 feet up or 20 feet up a tree.

Hammer recommends that you carefully inspect your stand before using it. Portable stands should be checked for loose nuts and bolts, etc. Permanent stands should be checked for rotting supports and platforms. If you find a stand in the woods and intend to use it, use extra caution. The stand may be many years old and incapable of supporting a person.

Avoid climbing stands with wet bark which can be very slick causing a stand to go down while climbing or when shifting your weight while hunting.

Always use a haul line to raise your gun or bow, and only lift them after you have secured yourself in the stand. Tie a nylon cord to a belt loop and to your gun or bow the first time up a tree. The gun or bow should conversely be lowered before beginning to descend from a tree stand. Broadheads must be covered with a quiver and guns unloaded at all times except when in  the act of hunting.
Hammer also suggests a hunter using a tree stand have three points of contact to the steps or ladder before moving.

Hunt with a plan, and if possible, a buddy. Let others know your exact hunting location and when you plan to return.

Don't leave safety up in the air when hunting from a tree stand, Hammer said. The proper use of tree stands, fall restraint equipment and safety measures will help prevent injury or even death from such falls.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2009, 08:13:23 AM by mudbrook »
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