VT Fish and Wildlife offers tree stand safety tips

With Vermont’s archery deer season starting October 1, Vermont Fish and Wildlife urge hunters to take the time to follow basic safety procedures to avoid falls from tree stands.   

VT Fish and Wildlife tree stand safety tips for hunters

VERMONT — Tree stands get hunters out of the sight and smell of wary deer, but they can also get hunters into trouble.  Here are some tips from Vermont Fish and Wildlife to help you stay safe and get the most out of your tree stand hunting experience:

  • Choose a live, straight tree, and avoid ash that may be in decline due to emerald ash borers.  
  • Buy smart.   Only use stands certified by the Tree Stand Manufacturers Association (TMA).
  • Inspect them each time you use them.  Check your tree stand for wear and tear each time you go out into the woods.
  • Know the rules.  On state lands, it is illegal to place nails or other hardware into trees or to build permanent structures.  On private lands, you must have landowner permission to erect a tree stand, cut or remove trees or other plants, or cut limbs.  All stands, including ground blinds, must be marked with the owner’s name and address.
  • Always wear a full-body safety harness, even for climbing.  Most falls occur going up and down the tree and getting in and out of the stand.  Make sure your safety harness is in good condition.  Especially, check the straps.
  • Don’t go too high.  The higher you go, the smaller the vital zone on a deer becomes, while the likelihood of a serious injury increases.  Climb within your personal limit.
  • Never carry firearms or bows up and down trees.  Always use a haul line to raise and lower all gear.  Make sure your firearm is unloaded.
  • Familiarize yourself with your gear before you go.  The morning of opening day is a poor time to put your safety belt on for the first time.
  • Be careful with long-term placement.  Exposure can damage straps, ropes, and attachment cords.  Also, as the tree grows, the stand’s stability can be compromised over time.

“Hunter education instructors want you to be safe this coming season,” said Vermont Fish and Wildlife’s Hunter Education Program Coordinator Nicole Meier.  “Falls from tree stands are a major cause of death and serious injury to deer hunters, but they are preventable by always wearing a full-body harness and staying connected to the tree.”

Learn more about Tree Stand Safety here:  https://www.tmastands.com/safety/

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