Treestand safety from Fish & Wildlife

Treestands get hunters out of sight and smell of wary deer, but they can also get hunters into trouble. Here are some tips from the Vt. Fish & Wildlife Department to stay safe and get the most out of your treestand hunting experience:

  • Choose a live, straight tree.
  • Only use stands certified by the Treestand Manufacturers Association.
  • Inspect them with each use.
  • Know the rules. On state lands, it’s illegal to place nails or other hardware into trees or build permanent structures. On private lands, you must have landowner permission to erect a treestand, or cut or remove trees, other plants, or limbs. All stands, including ground blinds, must be marked with the owner’s name and address.
  • Always wear a full-body safety harness, even for climbing. Most falls occur going up and down the tree and getting in and out of the stand.
  • Don’t go too high. The higher you go, the vital zone on a deer decreases, while the likelihood of a serious injury increases.
  • Never carry firearms or bows up and down trees. Always use a haul line to raise and lower all gear. Confirm your firearm is unloaded.
  • Know your gear before you go. Don’t put your safety belt on for the first time on opening day.
  • Be careful with long-term placement. Exposure can damage straps, ropes and attachment cords. Also, tree growth can compromise the stand’s stability over time.

“Hunter education instructors want you to be safe this coming season,” said Nicole Meier, information and education specialist for Fish & Wildlife. “Falls from treestands are a major cause of death and serious injury to deer hunters, but they are preventable by always wearing a full-body harness and staying connected to the tree.”

Learn more about Tree Stand Safety Awareness Month at

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