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Not enough hunters use a harness when in tree stand

The Wisconsin DNR would like to remind those participating in the upcoming deer hunting season, to practice safety when using tree stands. According to surveys, 1/4 of bowhunters have experienced a fall, or near fall, from an elevated stand.

Less than half of Wisconsin deer hunters, use a safety harness every time they climb.

Harnesses should be included in the routine of any hunter planning to hunt above the ground, regardless of whether hunting with a ladder stand, a tower stand or hang-on stand.

Hunters should be mindful of the basic rules of tree stand safety, which include the following:

• Connect harness to the tether line and keep the tether line short.

• Always have three points of contact while climbing into and out of the treestand – two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand at all times.

• Always use a haul line to raise and lower an unloaded firearm or bow, into and out of the stand. A separate haul line can also be used for other things, like a heavy backpack.

• Use a lifeline when climbing up and down. The lifeline keeps a person connected from the time they leave the ground, to the time they get back down.

• Be sure to let a loved one know where the hunting will take place and when the hunter is expected to return.

• Carry a cell phone to call for help if injured after a fall.

Hunters should use situational awareness, in addition to following the basic rules of treestand safety. Make sure to always select a tree that is substantial enough to support weight.

Check quipment prior to use, making sure lines are intact, harness fits, and is absent of snags and tears that could jeopardize the functionality. Also, be sure to inspect the stand to ensure it does not have any missing components or broken features.

Hunters can also participate in the Tree stand Manufacturers Association Safety Course, which is a free interactive course that takes 15 minutes to complete.

To learn more about tree stand safety rules and steps, visit the DNR webpage.