Monday, November 19, 2018 Elyria 38°
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Outdoors

Now's the time to get ready -- and stay safe -- with tree stands

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There are just a couple of weeks left until archery hunters take to the woods for the beginning of deer season. So now is the time for them to get their stands and spots set with the hope of harvesting

white-tailed deer this season.

To ensure safety while in the woods make sure your tree stand is durable and in working order.

Ken Fry, Outdoor Skills Specialist of the ODNR Division of Wildlife, says owning a quality stand and buying a commercial one is the first step to being safe.

“Over time screws and nails rust in homemade stands,” said Fry. “With a homemade stand the wood isn’t always treated properly and can lead to it being unsafe.”

Finding a good, stable tree is the next step.

With the weather still nice, now’s a good time to go out and set up your stand. Once archery season starts and the weather turns, locking the stand in and safely securing it becomes much harder.

Fry also suggests not to do it alone.

“Use the buddy system and have someone with you and do it in good weather,” he said.

After finding a sturdy tree and safely setting up the stand, utilizing proper safety to get in and out of the stand is next.

“Most accidents occur with hunters getting in and out of the stand,” Fry said. “Maintaining three points of contact with your hands and feet when climbing in and out significantly reduces the risk of injury.”

Once up the ladder or tree, Fry suggests hunters “climb above the treestand platform and step down into the stand.”

Wearing a safety harness is imperative as it can prevent serious injury or even death. There’s a wide array of harnesses on the market, but the safest is a

full-body harness. The Treestand Manufacturers Association (TMA) says, “there has not been a fatality with someone that has had a full-body harness that has been worn correctly.”

There are several different types of harnesses, but the full-body is the only one that doesn’t create a pinch point if you fall, which can cause organ damage like a collapsed lung.

Buying the lifeline product made by Hunter Safety Systems is the best on the market right now.

“In order to have that correct setup is when you have the full body harness, the tether to the tree should have very little slack,” Fry said.

When bringing your bow or gun into the stand, always unload it and make sure you have a haul line that cannot come in contact with the trigger. Get in first and then haul your bow or gun up to you.

Finally, take a communication device such as a phone. This helps should the hunter have an emergency.

“Make sure (the phone) is on you in an easily accessible pocket,” Fry said. “Having your phone in a pack above your head can’t help you if you fall or have an accident.”

While carrying a mode of communication is important, letting someone know where you are hunting is just as vital.

“There are no secret hunting spots,” Fry said. “Hunt where you say you’re going to hunt and be where you’re going to be.”

Taking the safety steps now and making sure your gear is safe and you have a plan can go a long way in making this season enjoyable and ultimately safe.

Contact Brad Zahar at bzaharoutdoors@gmail.com.
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