Healthy Living: Tree Stand Safety 

By- Dr. Joan Marie PellegriniHunting season has arrived and already we have seen hunters seriously injured because of falls from their tree stand. A quick Google search of tree stand accidents will quickly tell you that this is a common problem. Depending on where you live, up to 1/3 to ½ of all hunting accidents are a result of falling off or out of a tree stand. Of these accidents, 75% result in injury because the hunter was not using a harness or was using a harness improperly. This is really unfortunate because all commercial tree stands come with a fall restraint system (FAS). Also, this topic is covered in all hunter safety courses.Most falls happen when transitioning into the stand or out of the stand. Also, stands must be maintained and examined for wear and tear. Unfortunately, many falls are also related to alcohol intoxication.I have attached a list of safety tips from the Treestand Manufacturers Association and from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.1. Always wear a safety harness while hunting from a tree stand, including while ascending and descending. Make sure you understand how the harness should be properly used. Do not use a harness that looks worn or is not certified for your weight.2. Never climb into a permanent stand you have not built yourself or carefully checked out. 3. Always hunt with a plan and a buddy. Let someone know where you are going to be and when you plan to return.4. Always have an emergency signal device such as a cell phone, walkie-talkie, whistle, etc.5. Never hunt from tree limbs and make sure the tree is healthy and alive. Dead trees do not make sturdy supports for stands.6. Be sure the commercial stand you have is safe. Practice with it before using it in the woods. 7. Never climb a tree that is too small or too large for your stand to fit safely. 8. Be sure your stand is level at the height you wish to hunt. 9. Always stand up slowly and be sure of your balance. 10. Be sure you are steady and braced before shooting. 11. Always use a line haul line for your gear. Never climb with your equipment. 12. Be more careful than you think you need to be.