Ohio hunters are making final preparations to get ready as archery season is rapidly approaching here in the Buckeye state.
Setting up tree stands, installing feeders, food plots, doing inventory on gear are just some of the things on archery hunters’ checklists.
But once you’re all set to hop in the stand in two weeks, it’s important to remember it’s safety first and tree stand safety is an important and often overlooked element of hunter safety.
Hunting 10 to 30 feet above the ground comes with inherent risks. One in three accidents that occur while hunting involves a tree stand accident and those are simply what are just reported. Reporting a tree stand accident is far less common than an injury from a weapon so that statistic may be somewhat inaccurate.
By this time, you’ve either picked out a spot or have narrowed the search down and are heading out this weekend to set up shop. Ken Fry, ODNR Outdoor Skills Specialist, says “always set up a stand with a partner.” He added, “the earlier the better so you can avoid any type of inclement weather.”
While many may already have their stands set for the fall season, most accidents occur when using the stand. It may sound like common sense to many, wearing a safety harness while getting in and out of the tree stand can drastically decrease the risk of sustaining an injury. “A majority of accidents happen while climbing up and down the ladder,” said Fry. “Maintaining three points of contact and always staying connected to something is crucial.” Also when climbing or coming down, making sure you are taking it one step at a time and not skipping or jumping steps can lead to an accident as well.
There are a variety of harnesses out there, but what is more important than just having one on, is making sure it’s used properly and fitted correctly. Fry added, “the harness itself protects you and if used properly with no slack, you won’t have any jolt or shock to your system.”
In addition to a harness, properly getting your weapon in and out of the tree stand is just as important from a safety standpoint. “Always use a haul line or some piece of rope to bring your bow up into the stand,” Fry added. With a gun it’s a common reminder, but please make sure it’s unloaded before moving it up into the stand.
A final safety element that’s important while hunting is have some type of communication device. If you’re like me, hunting and the woods are a way to get away from technology, but letting someone know where you are and where your stand is can go along way should an accident happen.
All of this is may sound elementary dating back to the days of our youth when taking the Hunter Safety course, but with the season on the horizon, important and careful reminders of simple things like this can lead to not only a safe archery season but a successful one too.