September 11 – RALEIGH – White-tailed deer archery season opens Saturday in North Carolina.

As deer hunters prepare for their first outing, whether it’s archery this weekend or black powder or gun season later this year, prioritizing to the safety of hunters, according to the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. Hunting from a raised stand is a popular tactic used by hunters, especially archers, but stands of trees can easily become dangerous if not used properly.

In the fall of 2020, the Commission received 10 incident reports involving tree stands, including one fatal. In any case, individuals were not wearing safety harnesses and unfortunately this does not take into account the tree stand incidents that have never been reported.

“Hunters should always use a fall arrest system and follow safety procedures recommended by the tree stand manufacturer,” said Carissa Daniels, Outreach Officer for the Wildlife Commission. “These simple measures can go a long way in helping hunters stay safe when hunting with a tree stand.”

The Wildlife Commission’s hunter safety education campaign, Home From the Hunt, and the Tree Stand Safety Awareness Foundation offer these tree safety recommendations.

Preparation for using your tree stand:

– Remove all your equipment and check for damage before using it. This includes straps, chains, bolts and tie cords. Replace them if necessary.

– Buy a full body harness as part of a fall arrest system.

– Make sure you do not exceed the maximum height or weight limits of the stand manufacturer.

– Take an emergency signaling device, such as a cell phone or a whistle.

Installation of your tree stand:

– Share the location of your booth with someone before each hunt.

– Select a healthy, upright tree for your tree stand.

– Have someone help you set up the stand.

Using your tree stand:

– Buckle your harness securely and connect to the tree tether before your feet leave the ground.

– Maintain three points of contact when climbing the ladder; two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand. Most falls occur during the ascent or descent.

– Use a lineman’s belt and / or a lifeline when ascending or descending.

– Raise and lower the equipment using a transport cable – never carry anything while you are climbing.

For more information on the Wildlife Commission hunter education courses, whitetail deer season and limits, and to purchase a hunting license, visit ncwildlife.org.