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RALEIGH, N.C. (Oct. 18) – Tree stands are among the most popular hunting equipment around. Unfortunately, most hunting accidents in North Carolina and across the nation are tree-stand related.

“Always, always wear a fall arrest system,” said Capt. Chris Huebner, hunter safety coordinator for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “We recommend a full harness that is attached and in use before you leave the ground. That is one safety measure that wildlife officers stress to hunters.”

There have been two serious tree-stand accidents in the state already, resulting in a fatality and a broken back. Both could have been prevented if a fall-arrest system had been used, investigators said.

There are several other important precautions to take while using a tree stand:
Check all bolts, belts, chains and attachment cords before use, especially if the tree stand has been in place for any length of time
Never carry anything as you climb - use a rope to raise and lower an unloaded gun or other equipment once you are safely seated in the tree stand
Have an emergency signal (cell phone, whistle or flare) and let someone else know where you plan to hunt and when you plan to return

“You need to know how your tree stand works and practice using it beforehand at low heights,” Huebner said. “Know the manufacturer’s recommendations and follow their guidelines for installation and use.”

Successful completion of Hunter Education, offered free by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission throughout the state, is required for first-time hunting license buyers. Advanced courses are available and basic hunter education is recommended to update long-time hunters. For course schedules, game regulations and additional hunting safety information, click here or call (919) 707-0031.
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