SOCIAL CIRCLE — Many hunters utilize tree stands to give them a leg up on their quarry. However, sometimes these are improperly installed or show signs of wear after several years.
As a result, hunters may find themselves a statistic in a hunting-related tree stand incident, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.
Here are recommended safety tips:
• When using a non-climbing portable or ladder stand, hunters should securely fasten the stand to the tree and install ladders or steps according to the manufacturer’s directions.
• Hunters always should wear a fall-arrest system/full body harness during ascent and descent. Be aware that single-strap belts and chest harnesses are no longer recommended and should not be used. Failure to use an FAS could result in serious injury or death.
• Hunters always should attach their FAS in the manner described by the manufacturer. Failure to do so may result in suspension without the ability to recover into the tree stand. Be aware of the hazards associated with full body harnesses and the fact that prolonged suspension in a harness also might be fatal.
• Have in place a plan for rescue, including the use of cellphones or signal devices that may be reached easily and used while suspended. If rescue personnel cannot be notified, have an alternate plan for recovery or escape.
• Hunters always should use a haul line to pull their gear and unloaded firearm or bow into their tree stand. Never climb with anything in the hands or on the back. Prior to descending, lower equipment to the ground on the opposite side of the tree.
• Staying awake and alert is important. Hunters should avoid taking medications that cause drowsiness prior to hunting. Also, never use alcohol or drugs before or while hunting.
• Hunters always should inform someone of where they are hunting and what time they expect to return.
For more information on tree stands or hunting-related safety, call 770-761-3010 or go to www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/education.