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Update on Tree Stands

Filed Under:
November 12, 2019

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Taylor: Today we're talking about updates on tree stand safety. Hello, I'm Amy Taylor and welcome to Farm and Family. Today we're speaking with John Long, Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H Shooting Sports Coordinator. John, deer season is a big time for us in Mississippi and it never fails, every year we hear about tree stand accidents. First of all, what are some general reminders?

John Long: General reminders would be to make sure you have a good stand. A lot of times we leave stands out in the woods, and this is metal or wood or otherwise. Well when those elements take a hold to that stand and it's out there three months, there's a possibility where you have rust or you have rot occur and then we go back and get in the stand. Unbeknownst to us, a bolt could break or a weld could have broken and could cause you to fall.

Amy Taylor: Okay, and more specifically, what should we be thinking about?

John Long: Always select a stand that fits you. Just like any other thing. You don't want to be driving an ATV that's twice the size. If you have a stand that fits you, make sure that you're familiar with that stand and you know how to operate it. Don't buy it, take it out of the box, and then take it to the woods and try to figure it out then when you've got all your hunting equipment on it. Go to the yard and put it in a tree in your yard or go somewhere where you can test it out. Other times, individuals will make their own stand and they have a welder, they've got some wood. They want to make their own stand. My suggestion is, is to try that equipment out again, before you get in the woods. It's a lot better to ... if you made your own climbing stand, to try it a foot off the ground to see if it's going to hold up as opposed to getting 25 feet up and then realizing that, uh oh, this thing's not going to hold me.

Having a check list. That you make out a check list of the things that you're going to take with you. Because one of the things you don't want to do, again, is to get out there before daylight and realize, I forgot my hunting license. I don't have a pole rope. That can cause a whole lot of issues. Not having the proper clothing, you could expose yourself to the elements. What if you get wet going into the stand and then it's 30 degrees. You're exposing yourself and at a risk for hypothermia, so that's another thing you don't even think of as far as it relates to treestand safety, but it's very much a factor.

Amy Taylor: And of course having your cell phone with you, charging your cell phone up the night before.

John Long: Yes, absolutely. Having a cell phone is vital. I personally had a treestand accident. I had forgotten my phone in the truck, walked about a hundred yards down the road and realized it, stopped and turned around and got my cell phone. If had I not, I would have probably been hanging in the tree for at least three hours.

I want to talk about harnesses. Full-body harness is what you need to have. If you have a waist harness or a shoulder harness, you need to get rid of it, you need to throw it away. I had my accident I had on a waist harness. Luckily, I was able to pull myself back up. Had I had that waist harness on for that amount of time, I probably wouldn't be here talking to you because it was the most excruciating pain that I've ever had in my life.

Another thing people need to look at too, is a bad tree can also cause an accident. Whether it's rotted or if the bark is too slick to where it won't grab or hold the stand. You're really putting yourself at a risk for the stand to slip and to fall.

One other thing, make sure if you're using a climbing stand, that the top portion, the climbing portion, is attached to the lower ... well simple piece of rope can fix this. A lot of times when you buy a stand, they do not come attached to each other. If you take a piece of rope, good piece of cord, tie those two together. When your climbing, make it long enough to where you can get up and make an appropriate climb. If you have that, if it does slip, it's not going to fall very far and you can retrieve it and bring it back up where you can continue climbing.

Amy Taylor: And very quickly, you want to talk about the fact that recommendations about how high we should climb.

John Long: Yeah. A lot of times people think that you have to get 30 feet in there to avoid a deer's detection scent-wise and that's just not the case. It hadn't been proven a bit that height equates to scent removal. Climbing at high heights really increases your chances of something else happening. We did a rough figure one time. A man of average height and weight falling out of a tree at 20 feet is approaching a hundred miles an hour when they hit the ground. I don't know about you but I don't want to take that chance.

Amy Taylor: Thank you so much. Today we've been speaking with John Long, 4-H Shooting Sports Coordinator. I'm Amy Taylor, and this has been Farm and Family, have a great day.

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

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