Hunters should take a stand for safety

Monday, October 23rd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

When it comes to deer hunting, success and safety go hand in hand.

And that's important because most Oklahoma deer hunters use tree stands.

"Studies and statistics have proven that taking a few basic precautions can make hunting out of tree stands as safe, if not safer, than driving to your stand in the morning," said J.D. Peer, hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Peer offered the following easy tree stand safety rules, which if followed will all but ensure a safe return home following the day's hunt.

* Be particulary careful climbing up into and down from tree stands, where a significant percentage of accidents happen. Watch for slippery steps, be sure of your hand holds, and be sure of where you are putting your feet.

* Once you get into the stand, always wear a safety belt. Good, protective belts only cost about $10 - isn't your life worth it? Attach the belt to the tree at eye level when you are seated. This will allow enough slack for you to stand up before you shoot. This also prevents you from hanging several feet below your stand should you fall.

* If you hunt from a portable climbing stand, make sure it is attached securely. Double-check stability at the ground level before ascending the tree.

* Permanent tree stands should always be checked before deer season for soundness. Replace any weak boards with new, pressure-treated lumber.

* Use a rope or haul line to raise and lower you bow or gun. This will leave your hands free to climb the tree. Also, should the unthinkable happen, and you fall, you are much less likely to be seriously injured if you are not falling with a gun or bow in your hand.

* Always unload or uncap your gun before raising or lowering it from the stand. Tie the rope in such a way as to allow the muzzle to point away from you (remember hunter education, "Always treat every gun as if it were loaded").

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