Tricounty News

Hunters: tree stand safety reminder

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources urges hunters to follow safety rules when using tree stands, following five accidents this fall during the early antlerless deer season. In one incident, CO Todd Langevin of Center City responded to an emergency call of a deer hunter who had been shot in the leg. The hunter had shot himself after climbing into a poorly constructed permanent deer stand. "The hunter did not unload his firearm before climbing into the tree," Langevin said. "He also did not use a haul line but rather a belt looped through the trigger guard. The hunter was transported to a local hospital where he's being treated for his injuries." "Nationwide, one in three hunting accidents involves a tree stand," said Capt. Mike Hammer, education program coordinator. "As with most hunting accidents, tree stand accidents can be avoided by following a few simple safety rules, including the Three Point Rule." The Three Point Rule recommends that hunters always have three points of contact to the steps or ladder before moving. This could be two arms and one leg holding and stepping on the ladder or one arm and two legs in contact with the ladder before moving. Be cautious when rain, frost, ice or snow cause steps to become slippery, and always check the security of the step before placing your weight on it. The DNR also encourages hunters to practice the following tree stand safety tips: • Never carry equipment with you while you are climbing. Use haul lines to raise or lower. • Gear - and make sure guns are unloaded and broadheads covered before moving. • Always wear a safety harness, also known as a fall arrest system, when you are in a tree stand, as well as when climbing into or out of a tree stand. • A safety strap should be attached to the tree to prevent you from falling more than a foot. • Always inspect the safety harness for signs of wear or damage before each use  check permanent tree stands every year before hunting from them, and replace any worn or weak lumber. Inspect portable stands for loose nuts and bolts before each use.