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prevent tree stand accident

What kind of tree stand hunter are you? Grounded or airborne

MADISON – There are three kinds of hunters who use tree stands, according to Tim Lawhern, hunter education administrator for the Department of Natural Resources:

“The ones who have fallen from tree stands. The ones who will fall from tree stands, and the ones who may never fall because they know how to stay safe while perched above their prey.”

Lawhern said tree stands are popular – especially with bow-and-arrow hunters -- because they improve hunters’ visibility and decrease chances their scent will alert wildlife.

“Research has shown that one out of three hunters will fall from a tree stand sometime during his or her hunting career,” Lawhern said.

What causes falls?

“It can be from a weakness in the stand’s structure, incorrect installation, failure to use a fall restraint device, and hunters dozing off while on the stand,” Lawhern said. There also are the incidents when hunters shoot themselves while climbing trees with their guns, or when bow hunters fall on their arrows.

Hunters who plan to use tree stands are encouraged by Lawhern to follow these precautions to avoid accidents:

  • Check permanent tree stands every year before hunting. Replace worn weak lumber.
  • Read, understand and follow factory-recommended practices and procedures when installing commercial stands.
  • Inspect portable stands for loose nuts and bolts each time the stand is used.
  • Use a harness.
  • Use three points of contact while climbing into or out off the tree stand (two feet and one hand; two hands and one foot etc.).
  • Use a haul line to raise and lower your equipment – and keep firearms unloaded and arrows in a covered quiver.
  • Select a tree – one large enough to support your weight -- before the season. Some mishaps occur as hunters are hurrying to set up their stands on opening morning.
  • Make sure someone else knows the location of your tree stand and knows when you will be hunting there.
  • Stay awake.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Lawhern (608) 266-1317


Author: WI DNR