Safety first. Safety first. Safety first. While it is wonderful to hear about folks hunting in Georgia since deer season opened, it is unfortunate to hear about several avoidable incidents; including six tree stand incidents and one fatality that is currently under investigation.
“Hunting is and remains a very safe activity with more than 300,000 participants each year, but our agency always emphasizes safety first,” said John Bowers, Chief of the Game Management Section. “Your ability to responsibly use a tree stand or firearm is paramount to keeping you and anyone else hunting with or near you safe and injury-free.”
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division encourages hunters to review safety information before hunting and to use caution while in the woods.
TREE STAND SAFETY
Many hunters utilize tree stands to enhance their hunting experience. However, sometimes these are improperly installed or show signs of wear after several years. Not every tree stand is the same. Hunters should be familiar with their particular model’s features.
Following are a few recommended safety tips:
- When using a non-climbing portable or ladder stand, hunters should securely fasten the stand to the tree and install ladders or steps according to the manufacturer’s directions.
- Hunters should ALWAYS wear a Fall-Arrest System (FAS)/Full Body Harness during ascent, while in the stand and during descent. Failure to use a FAS could result in serious injury or death. Be aware that single strap belts and chest harnesses are no longer recommended and should not be used.
- Have in place a plan for rescue, including the use of cell phones or signal devices that may be easily reached and used while suspended. If rescue personnel cannot be notified, you must have an alternate plan for recovery or escape.
- Hunters should ALWAYS use a haul line to pull their gear and unloaded firearm or bow into their tree stand. Never climb with anything in your hands or on your back. Prior to descending, lower equipment to the ground on the opposite side of the tree.
Hunters are encouraged to review the ‘Four Primary Rules of Firearms Safety,’ which easily can be remembered with the acronym ACTT:
- A – Always treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
- C – Control the muzzle of the firearm at all times.
- T – Be certain of the Target and what is in front of it and beyond it.
- T – Keep your finger outside of the Trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.
“Some final thoughts on keeping safe include telling someone where you are hunting and what time you expect to return,” says Bowers. “And lastly, your ability to stay awake and alert is vital. Hunters need to avoid medications that cause drowsiness and never, ever use alcohol or drugs while hunting.”
For more information hunting-related safety, call 770-761-3010 or visit www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/education.