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Categorized | Outdoors

Hunters: When you’re up a tree, put safety first

All hunting requires meticulous preparation and a commitment to safety, but as Michigan’s bow season enters its second full week, it’s a good time to consider extra precautions when hunting from a tree stand.

A young man wearing camo and using a full-body harness, bow hunting from a tree stand

The Tree Stand Safety Awareness Foundation, a nonprofit focused on safety education and mindfulness, collected accident information from 12 states. Although Michigan wasn’t a participating state, the data provides a good starting point for conversation.

When it comes to tree-stand incidents, the foundation found that:

The average fall victim’s age was 47.

Lock-on and climbing stands were the most common types involved.

The majority of people who fell did not use a harness.

Most falls occurred when people hunted with traditional firearms or bows, followed by muzzleloaders and crossbows.

Most people fell because they slipped or lost their grip or balance.

“The DNR is in full support of the foundation’s effort to boost tree-stand safety,” said Lt. Tom Wanless, the hunter education administrator for the state of Michigan. “The more information hunters have, the safer they can be.”

Wanless shared a few tips:

*Use your hands and feet to maintain three points of contact when ascending or descending a tree stand.

*Use a full-body harness attached to a secure fall line positioned above your head.

*When lifting a crossbow or firearm (unloaded, safety on) into a tree stand, use a secure pull system, such as a rope. Never attach anything to a trigger or trigger guard.

The DNR teaches tree-stand safety, safe firearm handling, first aid and other important life skills as part of its hunter education program. Read more hunting safety tips or find a hunter safety education course near you at Michigan.gov/HuntingSafety.

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