Sept. 11, 2014 -- As the opening of the 2014-15 deer season approaches, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is reminding hunters to make pre-hunt checks to ensure treestand safety and use appropriate safety gear to reduce the chance of accidents in the field.
Each year, a few hunters are injured when they fall from stands or their stands fail. Nearly all of these injuries can be prevented if hunters follow some basic treestand safety rules:
- Thoroughly check and inspect the stand and all safety equipment before use. If a stand was left on a tree or in the woods since last season, all straps should be replaced with new straps specifically designed for treestand use. Older straps may appear safe to use, but they can be weaken with exposure to weather and sunlight. In addition, straps left on trees for long periods are under continual stress as the tree grows and may break when placed under a load.
- Only use treestands and safety equipment that meet or exceed industry standards recognized by the Treestand Manufacture’s Association (TMA). A list of products that are certified to industry standards recognized by TMA is available on the TMA website: www.tmastands.com .
- Always wear and properly attach a Full Body Fall Arrest Harness System (FBFAHS) anytime you leave the ground, including while ascending and descending. Older devices such as single strap belts and chest harnesses are dangerous and should never be used. Many new stands come with a FBFAHS. In addition, there are numerous comfortable and easy to use FBFAHS that can be purchased separately from a stand.
- Use your safety equipment properly and practice before you go hunting. Read, understand and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. In the presence of a responsible adult, practice with your FBFAHS near ground level and experience what it feels like to be suspended. Know how to recover if you experience a fall in your FBFAHS and be sure to have a communication or signaling device that you can access if you are suspended in your FBFAHS.
- After you are in your stand and have properly attached your FBFAHS, use a haul line to lift your equipment, including your unloaded firearm or bow, into your stand. Never climb with a firearm or bow attached to your body.
- Always let a responsible person know where you will be hunting and when you expect to return. Provide them with emergency contact information in the event you do not return when expected.
LDWF has produced several short, treestand safety videos that are available at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting-safety-videos . In addition the Treestand Manufacturer’s Association website www.tmastands.com provides information about safe use of treestands and safety equipment.
Hunting from a treestand can be an enjoyable and effective hunting technique, but safe use of treestands requires preparation and practice. For more information, contact Fred Kimmel at 225-765-2355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.