WV Wildlife: Tree Stand Safety

Lieutenant Ed Goodson, a WV Natural Resources police officer, demonstrates the correct way to attach a tree stand. (WCHS/WVAH)

It's getting to be that time of the year again.

That time of the year for buck fever.

In fact, deer archery and crossbow season starts this weekend!

That has many hunters excited, but don't let that adrenaline get in the way of your safety--especially when it comes to using a tree stand.

The numbers back up this concern, too.

11 of the 28 hunting incidents last year were falls from tree stands, explains Lieutenant Ed Goodson—a Natural Resources Police Officer. He makes no bones about it when talking about tree stands.

"Two types of tree stand hunters. Those who have fallen, and those who haven't fallen yet", said Goodson.

There are certainly some advantages of hunting higher--better vision, lesser chance of your scent being detected by the deer and being more hidden. If you climb high, though, there's one thing that you can use that will give you and your loved ones some peace of mind.

"Put your fall restraint system on. Hook up to the tree before that last foot leaves the ground. Stay connected all the way up and all the way down. So, make an investment and wear it. Don't wear this for yourself. Wear this for the grandkids, the son & daughter, the wife, the family. Wear it for them", said Goodson.

There are several different types of tree-stands, too. No matter which one you use, Goodson says to make sure they are in good shape.

“Check your equipment very well--even before you go out with it. If you've got some bolts that are rusty, fix that. Rubber belt--if that's something you've had on for a long time, let's go ahead and replace that".

Lt. Goodson also encourages you to set your tree-stand up the day before if you can. If not, just be patient the day of.

"If you've got to set that thing up at dark--slow. Leave yourself plenty of time to put it properly, safely. Make sure everything is covered--don't get in a hurry. Before that last foot leaves the ground, you should be connected to the tree", said Goodson.

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