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Deer Hunters: Keep in Mind Tree Stand Dangers (update)

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National reports indicate that one in three hunting accidents involve deer stands. The injuries have included falls, shootings and deaths.

The stands range from poorly built home made stands to manufactured stands that have been known to cause injuries. The use of the Three Point Rule is suggested:

That hunters always have three points of contact to the steps or ladder before moving. This could be two arms and one leg holding and stepping on the ladder or one arm and two legs in contact with the ladder before moving.

)update) The Minneapolis Tribune is reporting 3 deaths already this past week :

• A 15-year-old hunter from Mora, who was in a stand, holding his gun between his legs while removing his jacket, when his gun went off, hitting his upper inner leg.

• A 51-year-old hunter from Sartell, who fell from his deer stand in north-central Minnesota, causing his gun to fire, killing him.

• An 84-year-old Maple Grove man, who fell from his stand after his clothes ignited in his deer stand as he worked on a heater.

The DNR provides the following safety tips:

    • Never carry equipment with you while climbing. Use a haul line to raise or lower your gear. Make sure guns are unloaded and broadheads are covered prior to raising or lowering firearms or bows with a haul line.
    • Since most accidents occur when hunters are climbing up or down a tree, always use a climbing belt. Always use a safety belt or harness when hunting from elevated tree stands. Study manufacturer’s recommendations before using any equipment. Never use a rope to replace a safety belt.
    • Check permanent tree stands every year before hunting from them, and replace any worn or weak lumber.
    • Read, understand and follow the factory recommended practices and procedures when installing commercial stands. Inspect portable stands for loose nuts and bolts each time they are used.
    • Choose only healthy, living trees when using climbing devices. Rough-barked trees such as oak are best. Do not use a tree that is rotten or has dead limbs.
    • Never put all your weight on a single branch. Keep at least one hand and one foot on a secure place when reaching for the next hold.
    • Climb higher than the stand and step down onto it. Climbing up onto it can dislodge it.
    • Wear boots with non-skid soles, because steps or platforms can be slippery in rain, sleet or snow.
    • Tell a dependable person where you’re hunting and when you plan on returning. Map your whereabouts and leave a note at camp, at home or in your car so that you can be found.
    • Don’t fall asleep. This is a common cause of accidents. If you get drowsy, move your arms rapidly until you feel alert.
    • Never wear a ring in any climbing situation. Rings can catch on tree limbs and equipment.
    • As a precautionary measure, remove all logs, upturned and cutoff saplings, rocks and other obstructions on the ground below the tree stand.
    • Use updated equipment. When used properly, newer tree stand equipment is solid, safe and secure. Older models of safety belts offer some protection, but newer safety harnesses offer more protection.
    • Carry a whistle to call for help and carry a first aid kit, flashlight and cellular telephone in a fanny pack.

So have a great hunt. But don’t forget safety.

Our sympathy goes out to the family and friends of the three hunters lost this week