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Tree Stand Safety

Falls from a tree stand are the leading cause of injuries during the gun deer season, according to a 2008 Wisconsin study, recently confirmed by a 2010 Ohio study. The good news is such falls are easily preventable. You can continue to gain the benefits that hunting from a tree stand delivers -- increased field of vision and avoiding detection by your prey -- while reducing your risk of injury if you follow a few simple safety tips.

Link to Video

 [VIDEO Length 0:30] exit DNR
Kurt Busch on Tree Stand Safety

Get a Full-Body Harness

The most important thing you can do is use a full body harness, which keeps you in the stand if you slip or fall. 82 percent hunters who fall from tree stands are not wearing full body harnesses, according to the Tree Stand Manufacturers Association.

Find out which models meet revised national standards: TMA Standards

Wear Your Full-Body Harness

Hunters must wear their harnesses for them to work. A 2003 survey of Wisconsin gun deer hunters showed that two thirds of hunters who hunted from tree stands owned aharness but less than one third of them reported actually using the harness. Another third did not own a full body harness.

Take a Free Online Tree Stand Safety Course

A 15-minute investment of your time in taking an online safety course could save your life. The Tree Stand Manufacturers Association provides a free, interactive course that you can finish in minutes.

Tree Stand Safety Course

Take These Other Steps to Stay Safe


  • Select a tree that is substantial enough to support your weight.
  • Read, understand and follow all of the manufacturer's recommended procedures.
  • Do not alter your equipment.
  • Have 3 points of contact while climbing into and out of the tree stand; either two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand at all times.
  • Use a haul line to raise and lower your UNLOADED firearm.
  • Use a short tether between you and the tree when seated in the tree stand.
  • Let people know where you'll be hunting, where you'll be parking your vehicle, and when you intend to return.
  • Carry a cell phone with you so you can call for help if you are injured after a fall.

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Last revised: Friday September 26 2014