JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission describes the tree stand as the most dangerous aspect of deer hunting.
A recent letter, released by the AGFC, indicates that falls from stands injure more hunters than "accidental" shootings.
There are tree stands and then there are tree stands.
Rick Grissom, owner of the Camo Shop in Jonesboro says tree stands have changed a lot both since he started selling them and started using them.
Grissom, "We Took 2 by fours and made a platform out of them stood them up against a tree and nailed them to a tree or you got up in a tree and found a uniform limb and laid you a piece of plyboard on it and nailed you some nails in it."
There are many types of tree stands, from self supporting tripod types to a lock on like one I found in the woods. Very popular with bow hunters.
Grissom, "The other stands are ladder stands. That's actually made together. You put them together on the ground and lay them up against a tree it's just like climbing a step ladder."
So have you checked the condition of your tree stand yet this fall?
You can fall off. It generally happens for a couple of reasons. Deteriorated strapping that holds the stand on the tree.
Grissom, "Always check those every time you get up in them to make sure somebody hasn't tampered with them or they haven't rotted in some way. Grab ahold of your stacking sticks or your ladder, move them see if they are still tight. If you left them the tree has grown, expanded they should still be tight. If they are loose you want to start at the bottom and tighten those straps all the way up."
Operator error can cause a fall. Always wear a safety harness.
Grissom, "You need to be sure you put that harness on as soon as you get in the tree. Lock it around the tree therefore if you fall out the harness is going to save your life."
All new tree stands come with a harness or you can buy fancier harnesses like one with leg straps. This is the type the Game and Fish recommends. And use them going up and down the stand as well.
Grissom, "Any time you're in a tree stand, wear your harness."
Game and Fish also recommends that if you are going to the woods let someone know where you are, give them a time frame and if possible don't hunt alone...just in case.