Though commonly used by deer hunters everywhere, tree stands often are improperly installed and, as a result, are considered the leading cause of hunting-related incidents, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division.
Different types of tree stands are available, and each type requires the user to be familiar with variations to ensure safety. Following are some 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 should ALWAYS wear a Fall-Arrest System (FAS)/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 a FAS could result in serious injury or death.
Hunters should ALWAYS 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 may also be fatal. Have in place a plan for rescue, including the use of cell phones or signal devices that may be easily reached and used while suspended. If rescue personnel cannot be notified, you must have an alternate plan for recovery or escape. If you have to hang suspended for a period of time before help arrives, exercise your legs by pushing against the tree or doing any other form of continuous motion or use your suspension relief device. If you do not have the ability to recover or escape from a FAS, it is recommended that you hunt only from the ground.
Hunters should ALWAYS use a haul line to pull their gear and unloaded firearm or bow into their tree stand. Never climb with anything in your hands or on your 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 should always inform someone of where they are hunting and what time they expect to return.
For more information on tree stands or hunting-related safety, contact the nearest Wildlife Resources Division Law Enforcement office, visit www.gohuntgeorgia.com or call (770) 761-3010.
Help Fight Hunger Through “Drop-Back-A-Pack” Campaign
Since 1993, hunters have been bringing meat to the tables of those in need through the Georgia Hunters for the Hungry program. Through this successful program, hunters have donated enough venison to serve more than 1.5 million meals. This year, hunters are asked to give a portion of their processed deer through the “Drop-Back-a-Pack” campaign at one of 12 participating processors through Jan. 15, 2012.
“The Georgia Hunters for the Hungry program is one opportunity for hunters to demonstrate their generosity by sharing their harvest with those in need,” said John W. Bowers, Wildlife Resources Division assistant chief of Game Management. “The Division is proud to be a cooperator in this public-private partnership and to work with the many partners who make it possible each year.”
In a change from the past, rather than bringing in a whole field-dressed deer to donate, hunters are asked to donate a portion (“a pack”) of their processed deer. Hunters are welcome to give as many processed “packs” as they can provide. For those that can’t donate a pack, the program welcomes dollar donations to help support the efforts (donate at www.gwf.org). All hunters who donate during this collection period will be entered into a drawing for a deer rifle, sponsored by the Georgia Wildlife Federation.
Wildlife Resources, along with the Georgia Department of Corrections, Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia Wildlife Federation and the Georgia State Association of Food Banks sponsor the program.
For more information on donating food to those in need during other times of the year, call the Atlanta Community Food Bank at (404) 892-FEED. For more information on the GHFTH program, visit www.gohuntgeorgia.com , www.gwf.org , contact a WRD Game Management office or call (770) 761-3045.