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Ready for Deer Season? Have You Safety-Checked Your Tree Stand?

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Attention deer hunters! The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has some timely advice about safety and tree stands.

“Unfortunately, we have tree stand incidents that involve injuries and sometimes deaths before deer season even opens. We need hunters to practice tree stand safety at all times, not just during hunting season.” Travis Casper, state assistant hunter education coordinator.

If you are scouting a location, trimming shooting lanes and putting up your tree stand, even on a trial basis, use the same precautions you would during hunting season:

• Wear a full body safety harness

• Maintain three points of contact when climbing

• Follow manufacturer instructions

• Have an emergency signal and tell someone where you plan to go

As with any piece of equipment, tree stands need inspection before use. Long-term placement (leaving your tree stand up from one season to the next) has some inherent problems that outweigh any convenience. Exposure to the elements will damage straps, ropes and attachment cords, and potentially lead to breakage and failure. Also, trees are living, growing things and alter over time, affecting stability.

Tree Stand Safety, Part 1: NC Wildlife Resources Commission

Tree Stand Safety, Part 2: NC Wildlife Resources Commission

“If you or someone you know has had a tree stand up for an extended length of time, take it down,” Casper said. “Inspect it. Replace rusted bolts, frayed straps or, if needed, buy a new tree stand. Your life could depend on it.”

In North Carolina, all first-time hunting license buyers must successfully complete a Hunter Education Course, offered free across the state. Go to www.ncwildlife.org to consult the online version of the 2011-2012 N.C. Inland Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Regulations Digest.