RALEIGH — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Home From The Hunt™ campaign is reminding hunters to be prepared and stay safe, especially when using a tree stand. That includes pre-hunting season preparation, whether scouting a location, trimming shooting lanes or putting up a tree stand on a trial basis.
“Hunters should use the same tree stand precautions now as they would during hunting season,” said Lt. Sam Craft, a wildlife officer and hunting safety instructor. “When first putting a tree stand in place, consider using a lineman-style belt in addition to a full-body harness. This minimizes the chance of falls and potential injury. Always select a healthy, straight tree for placement. And let someone know where you are or take someone along during pre-season work.”
Other Home From The Hunt™ tree stand safety recommendations:
— Practice use at ground level, gradually going higher.
— Never carry anything as you climb — use a haul line to raise and lower equipment.
— Maintain three points of contact when climbing.
— Follow manufacturer instructions.
— Don’t exceed manufacturer’s maximum height settings.
As with any piece of equipment, tree stands need inspection before use. Replace rusted bolts, frayed straps or, if needed, buy a new tree stand. Leaving a tree stand up from one season to the next has some inherent problems that outweigh any convenience. When a tree stand is exposed to the elements due to long-term placement, it may have damaged straps, ropes and attachment cords — any of which potentially may lead to breakage and failure.
For more information on hunting seasons, Hunting Heritage Apprentice Permits and the Hunter Education Program, go to www.ncwildlife.org.