For deer hunters, September is the best time of year because it signals the start of the hunting season in most states. The beginning of deer season also coincides with Fall Prevention Awareness Week. For hunting enthusiasts, spending time in the woods on a crisp autumn afternoon is about as good as it gets. Unfortunately, a fall from a tree in the middle of a forest can have devastating consequences. If you intend to hunt from a tree stand, here are a few tips to help keep you safe:
GET IN SHAPE
Prepare your body well in advance of deer season. If you aren’t already physically fit, start preparing your body for the rigors of the outdoors by hitting the gym or taking hikes at local parks. Consider some resistance training to strengthen your legs, core, and shoulders. Hunters with strong bodies are less likely to succumb to exhaustion when walking to and climbing a tree.
USE A FALL ARREST SYSTEM
We know…hunters already have too much gear to haul in and out of their hunting areas. However, a fall arrest system should always be worn when hunting from a tree. These devices protect the hunter from getting stranded in a tree when they are using a tree stand harness. It protects hunters while climbing, sitting, standing, and descending. Think of it like a seat belt in a vehicle. We all hope that we are never in a car crash; however, chances are that we will be involved in a crash at some point in our lives. When a crash happens, seatbelts can save lives. The same is true for a fall arrest system.
HUNT WITH A FRIEND OR SEND YOUR LOCATION TO A TRUSTED FRIEND
Ideally, you will be hunting with a friend when you venture into the deer woods. If so, make sure you and your friend know exactly where each of you will be hunting and schedule a time and location to meet after the hunt. If you don’t have a hunting buddy, send a pin of your location to someone you trust and let them know what time you will be exiting the woods. Sending your location is incredibly easy if you follow simple instructions for Google Maps.
STAY AWAKE AND ALERT
It goes without saying that you must stay awake and alert if you want to harvest that massive Pope & Young buck that you’ve caught on your trail camera. However, staying awake also keeps you in the stand. Too often, hunters fall asleep in the stand only to wake up on the ground with serious life altering injuries. Therefore, it is important to get plenty of rest before your hunting trip. Easier said than done right? Sleep can be elusive during the anticipation leading up to a hunt but do your best to get the rest your body needs so you will be mentally alert during your time in the stand.
USE A HAUL LINE
Hunters should always use a haul line to get their gear in a tree stand. The cost of a haul line is minuscule when compared to the cost of your other hunting gear. The use of a haul line frees up your hands and removes unnecessary weight from your back as you ascend and descend the tree. You can find a good quality haul line for less than the price of a pack of arrows or box of ammunition.
DON’T SKIMP ON SAFETY
Life if too precious to take unnecessary risk when hunting. Most hunting related injuries and deaths result from rule violations and poor judgment. As my grandpa used to say, use your head for something more than a hat rack. Develop a safety plan before the hunt and utilize simple tools such as a fall arrest system, Google Maps, and a haul line to make sure you stay safe this hunting season. Good luck and stay safe out there my friends.