LINCOLN, Neb. – As you enjoy fall hunting season, it’s important to keep tree stand safety in mind. Accidents in the field can be prevented with careful planning.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission encourages hunters to follow these safety guidelines:
Always check old tree stands for safety. Look at welds, nuts and bolts to make sure they are secure.
Check all tree stand straps and replace any that are weathered or frayed.
Always use a safety harness and lifeline when in a tree stand. Check these to make sure they are not weathered or frayed and are in good working order.
Safety harnesses are often included with new tree stands. Use it, and follow the directions on how to correctly put it on. Another option is to buy a vest-type safety harness which is easier and faster to use.
You should also use a lifeline, which attaches to the tree above your head and is tied off at the bottom of the stand. Lifelines are equipped with a Prusik knot that attaches to the safety harness tether with a carabiner. If you fall, the knot will tighten itself on the lifeline preventing you from falling to the ground.
It is also important to know how to use the relief system strap on the safety harness if you should fall from a tree stand and are suspended. The relief system takes pressure off the arteries in the groin area. Practice hanging from a tree a couple feet off the ground with a friend present to help you out if needed. It’s essential to know how it feels to hang, to get back into a tree stand, and to lower yourself to the ground should you have a fall.
Make sure to have a cellphone within reach if a self-rescue cannot be accomplished, and always inform a friend or family member of your hunt plan so someone knows where you will be and when you will return.
For more information about deer hunting in Nebraska, read the 2020 Big Game Guide at OutdoorNebraska.org/guides.