The majority of hunting-related accidents involving tree stands happen because a hunter has neglected to wear a fall protection harness, was not using a Fall Arrest System (FAS) or used them in an incorrect or unsafe manner.
Don't be that guy or gal – be a wise hunter and avoid needless injuries in the field!
A fall protection harness is meant to protect you if you should accidentally fall while climbing up to or down from your tree stand.
It also protects you should you fall out of your seat in the tree stand.
This can easily happen much more often than most people realize, as many a sleepy hunter will tell you.
Read on for more important information. . .
A Fall Protection Harness Is A Must For Tree Stand Hunters
The Fall Arrest System (FAS) is a tether strap that is attached to the tree.
A Full Body (protection) Harness (FBH) is the safest and most reliable harness available for a hunter's protection.
All a hunter has to do is put it on, make sure to adjust all straps and then fasten the clips.
The fall protection harness recommended for wear today supports the body around the shoulders, waist and legs.
Should the hunter suffer a fall, the pressure put on his body is distributed over a larger area than with the old style chest harnesses and single belts.
This potentially reduces the risk of serious injuries and there are many fall-related injuries in the deer woods each year.
Remember That Tether Slack Should Always Be Minimal
The tether (safety) strap or FAS (Fall Arrest System) is the second component of fall protection.
This attaches to the tree in which the stand is located.
When the hunter is standing up on the tree stand platform, the tether strap should be attached at eye level or higher on the tree.
While the hunter is sitting in the stand, the tether strap should have NO slack in it whatsoever.
If these directions are followed carefully, in case the hunter should fall then he or she will only fall a few inches instead of several or many (read that FAR TOO MANY) feet.
6 Ways Your Fall Protection Harness Protects You
- Fact – Cold weather often makes hunters sleepy and less attentive to their own safety while hunting from the trees. A fall protection harness can quickly become your best friend if you happen to nod off.
- Fact – Hunters who don't have to worry about falling can pay much more attention to finding the deer or other big game animal of their hunting lifetime. Why worry? Just wear your fall protection harness and be safe!
- Fact – Tree stands of all types can shift unexpectedly due to wet or snowy weather, tree movement caused by wind or motion potentially caused by a hunter adjusting his physical position. This can quickly cause a hunter to become prone to a serious fall. Those who wear a quality fall protection harness will find themselves much more confident under those conditions.
- Fact – The unexpected appearance of a game animal can sometimes startle a hunter who may have dozed off or who may be looking in a different direction. This unfortunately can be a total recipe for disaster unless you are protected by your fall protection harness.
- Fact – Almost everyone thinks that they are as physically fit as the day they turned eighteen but if we're all honest with ourselves, we have lost some of our youthful capabilities when climbing into and out of the trees during hunting season. None of this matters when you choose to hunt safely and make sure you wear your fall protection harness at all times when climbing up or down a tree and when you're stationary in the seat waiting for game to appear.
- Fact – Many hunters think they don't need safety gear, yet because they don't wear their fall protection harness at all times when hunting from the trees, often a needless injury occurs due to an unexpected fall that could have been easily prevented. Hunt safe, hunt smart and wear your fall protection harness to reduce your chances of having your next hunt be a wheel chair hunt.
Recheck Tree Stand Security Often To Maintain Tight Attachment
There are a variety of different types of tree stands for hunting, and it is important that a fall protection harness be worn when using any of them.
Wearing a lineman's (climbing) belt is also a must.
A hang-on or fixed hunting tree stand is composed of a platform and a seat.
It has chains or straps for attaching it to a tree and you may make that attachment at any height you wish.
You will need a ladder or steps to safely get up to the stand once it is mounted securely.
Be sure the straps/chains are tightened securely or else you will find that when weight is put on the platform the stand may slip.
Test the stand before each trip up to it, even if you used it safely the day before.
Weather conditions and temperature changes have a way of loosening the security of your stand when you least expect it.
Protect yourself and check the security of your stand every time you want to use it along with the correct rigging of your fall protection harness as well.
Once a hunter is in this stand, his/her movements are very limited and it can be difficult to adjust a seating position safely.
Do not use screw-in steps up the tree to the stand as these are illegal in several states and are often suspect with regard to security and stability in some kinds of trees that are prone to splitting or allowing the screws to loosen prematurely.
Practice With Your Self-Climbing Stand To Become Proficient
A self-climbing hunting tree stand is highly portable and can be carried like a backpack when hiking into the woods to hunt.
This type of stand can be used in several locations in one day, depending on your local hunting conditions.
You will need to practice the pull-up, push-down methods needed to get this stand up a tree to become safely proficient with the process.
Wear your fall protection harness, your climbing belt and your tether strap while raising and lowering your tree stand and sitting in it.
You'll find that it's easy to wear your harness and perform all your raising and lowering processes quickly and efficiently before you know it.
You'll Find Ladder Stands Can Be A Great Way To Hunt From Trees
Ladder stands are some of the safer tree stands for hunting in terms of the ease of maintaining your personal safety when entering them.
Never try to install one of these by yourself.
It is really a three-person job, don't be misled by the apparent simplicity of the job.
A ladder stand is ideal for hunting along well-established trails where game animals travel.
It can be mounted from 12 to 16 feet high and the ladder sections must be checked regularly to be sure they are still connected with retainers, clips or some sort of device to ensure they do not split open or come apart unexpectedly.
Ladder stands come in single and double seat models and some have a bar attached for a hunter to use for a gun rest.
What? No Trees? Then Use A Tower Stand But Keep Safety In Mind
A tower stand is freestanding and does not need a tree for support.
Standing on three or four legs with a ladder included for climbing to the top, this stand is meant to be used in an open field or in other open country, at the edge of a food plot or in any flat, stable area where deer often return.
It has a platform for a hunter on top with a single seat attached.
You should wear your fall protection harness just as you do any time you climb when you hunt.
Fall protection must be an essential part of your regular hunting safety checklist.
Properly and safely used tree stands for hunting can provide you with many seasons full of wonderful hunting memories. . .but if safety is not first on your list of considerations, you could put yourself in a position to endure a lifetime of misery.
Make sure your hunting tree stand is safe and sound and also make sure that you are safe and sound in your harness when you're in the tree stand.
A fall from a tree stand without a fall protection harness is not worth losing a lifetime of memorable hunting experiences.