Pennsylvania Game Commission Offers Online Treestand Safety Tips
As treestand use is a popular part of archery deer seasons, as well as a growing part of other deer seasons, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is offering hunters the opportunity to take a free, voluntary online treestand safety course. To take the course, go to the agency’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), click on “Education” in the left-hand column of the homepage, then click on “Treestand Safety Course” in the “Education” box in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
“Treestand safety has evolved over the years as new research and statistics become available,” said Keith Snyder, Game Commission Hunter-Trapper Education Division chief. “What were once considered to be ‘safe’ treestand safety practices 10 years ago are simply not considered ‘safe’ today.
“By reviewing this 15-minute interactive, narrated treestand safety course, a hunter will learn about the latest Treestand Manufacturers Association’s safety standards and guidelines.”
Snyder noted that, in 2000, the Game Commission incorporated a specific treestand safety segment into its basic Hunter-Trapper Education course, which is required for all first-time license buyers regardless of age, as well as its voluntary Bowhunter education course.
“One of the key messages is the importance of a have and using a full-bodied fall restraint device or harness,” Snyder said. “According to the Treestand Manufacturers Association, 82 percent of treestand-related deaths were attributed to the fact that the hunter was not using a fall-restraint devise.”
Snyder noted that other treestand safety messages include:
Stay away! – Avoid permanent stands; they weaken with age, damage trees and are eyesores.
Smart choice! – Used stands certified by the Treestand Manufacturers Association (TMA). They are commercially designed and tested to meet high standards.
Read the directions! – Read and follow manufacture’s guidelines. Practice with stands before hunting.
Look carefully! – Inspect all stands and climbing equipment before each use.
Choose wisely! – Select only suitable trees. Avoid dead trees or those with loose bark.
Buckle up! – Use a fall-restraint device, preferably a full-body harness, any time your feet leave the ground! This includes climbing up and down the tree. Choose a harness that will keep you upright and will not restrict your breathing.
Keep it short! – Make sure there is no slack in the fall-restraint tether when you are in a sitting position.
Hold on tight! – Maintain three points of contact with the climbing system, ladder or tree at all times while climbing.
Climb safely! – Use a haul line to pull up gear. If hunting with a firearm, make sure it is unloaded and the muzzle is covered! Never attach the line near the trigger or trigger guard.
Ask a friend! – Use 3 persons to set-up any ladder-type treestand.
Hunt with a plan! – In the event of a fall, be prepared to help yourself. Have someone contact authorities if you don’t return at an established time.