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Remember safety rules, as well as equipment, in hunt

As Wisconsin heads into what is known in the hunting community as “peak rut,” or the primary breeding season for deer, the Wisconsin DNR would like to remind those participating in deer hunting season, to practice safety when using treestands.

According to surveys, 25 percent 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.

Make using a fall-restraint device part of the routine every time when hunting above the ground, regardless of whether with a ladder stand, a tower stand or hang-on stand.

“We owe it to ourselves, our friends and our families, to be humble in our recognition that accidents can happen to anyone,” said DNR deputy chief warden Matt O’Brien. “Prepare your equipment – and your mindset – as if your life depends on it. Wisconsin’s culture of hunting safety is the foundation for countless traditions and wonderful memories. Please do your part.”

Hunters should also be mindful of the following basic rules of treestand safety:

• Always wear a full-body harness also known as a fallarrest system.

• Connect to the tether line and keep the line short. The tether is designed to keep someone in the seat, not to catch them after they fall.

• Always have three points of contact while climbing into and out of the treestand: This means 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. It can also be used to haul other things, like a heavy backpack.

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

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

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