Bowhunting can be fun but also cause severe injury and even death from falls while using tree stands. The National Bowhunter Education Foundation recommends the following safety tips to reduce the risk of hunting from elevated tree stands:
- Practice with your stand at ground level, gradually going higher. Several Conservation Department shooting ranges and outdoor education centers have practice poles for free public use.
- Know the proper procedure for securing the stand to a tree and how to use the stand properly.
- Read the manufacturer’s warnings and instructions before each season.
- Use only stands that meet standards of the Treestand Manufacturer’s Association (TMA) rated for your weight and all gear or equipment you wear or have with you on the stand.
- Always use a fall arrest system that meets TMA standards, which includes a full-body harness rated for your weight and any gear you wear or attach to yourself.
- Have your fall arrest system attached to the tree from the moment you leave the ground, throughout the hunt and when you descend to the ground.
- Always position yourself so that you step down onto your tree stand to test its stability.
- Always use a haul line to raise and lower your gear, including unloaded firearms, bows and arrows.