10 Tips for Using Tree Stands
Photo Courtesy Jared Gustafson

WATERBURY, Vt. – Taking a stand, political or otherwise, can be dangerous, but no more so when that stand is up a tree.

The bowhunting boom of the 1970s introduced a new tool to hunters -- portable, commercially-made tree stands – and hunters were quick to discover their advantages. You can see over the brush, deer generally don’t look up, and when the wind is right, your scent will drift above deer that are close. However, using them safely demands preparation and precaution. With archery season open and firearms season just around the corner, here are some tips to get the most out of your tree stand hunting experience:

  1. Choose a live, straight tree.
    Find the deer first, then find a healthy tree within shooting range

  2. Choose smart stands.
    Only use stands certified by the Treestand Manufacturers Association (TMA).

  3. Inspect your stands.
    Look for loose nuts and bolts each time they are used.

  4. Know the rules.
    On state lands, it is illegal to place nails or other hardware into trees or to build permanent structures. On private lands, it is illegal to erect any tree stand, cut or remove trees or other plants, or to cut limbs without the landowner's permission. Regardless of property status, all stands, including ground blinds, must be marked with the owner’s name and address.

  5. Always wear full-body safety harness, even for climbing.
    Most falls happen when going up and down the tree, and getting in and out of the stand.

  6. Don't go too high.
    The higher you go, the smaller the vital zone on a deer becomes, while the likelihood of a serious injury increases. Usually, 15 to 20 feet is sufficient

  7. Never try to carry firearms or bows up and down trees.
    Always use a rope to raise and lower all gear. Make sure your firearm is unloaded.

  8. Strap in as soon as you get in the stand.
    To catch your fall, a short tether is safer than a long one. If you do fall, replace your tether.

  9. Familiarize yourself with your gear before you go.
    The morning of opening day is poor time to put your safety belt on for the first time.

  10. Be careful with long-term placement.
    Exposure to the elements can damage straps, ropes and attachment cords. Also, the stand’s stability can be compromised, over time, as the tree grows.

These tips are offered by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department’s Hunter Education Program. Each year, the Program’s 350 volunteer instructors certify almost 5,000 students. The free courses are entirely funded by hunters and shooters through the Federal Aid in Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program.

Be smart, think safety, and good luck.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Costa and Captains for Clean Water

Costa and Captains for Clean Water

With the company's heavy involvement in initiatives like Kick the Plastic and Captains for Clean Water campaigns, Costa's Amanda Sabin tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead all about the sunglass maker's unwavering commitment to help the freshwater and saltwater environment.

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

As Mustad continues to expand into an all-around tackle company, Reid McKinstry shows off some innovative features that make the Mustad Skatter Shad bladed jig a winner in big bass waters.

Simms

Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor Hoody

John Frazier of Simms Fishing Products helps OSG's Lynn Burkhead understand the new features of the new Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor sun protection hoody.

Abu Garcia Virtual Rod with Bluetooth

Abu Garcia Virtual Rod with Bluetooth

Pure Fishing's Andrew Wheeler tells Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead all about the brand new Abu Garcia Virtual rod that integrates Bluetooth technology through a free ANGLR smartphone app.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies. Panfish

Find and Fish Bluegill Beds Efficiently

Terry Madewell - May 22, 2019

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies.

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes. Wild Game

10 Recipes for Your Backyard Get Together

Game & Fish Online Staff

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes.

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish time after time. Catfish

10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish...

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies can be profound, even when fishing the same lake or river. Fishing How-To

How to Catch Catfish Day and Night

Terry Madewell

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies...

See More Trending Articles

More Hunting How-To

Lovesick toms throughout the West range farther than most hunters think. These tips will help you tag more of them. Turkey

Turkey Hunting: Intercept Traveling Toms

Scott Haugen - April 27, 2020

Lovesick toms throughout the West range farther than most hunters think. These tips will help...

Think inside and outside the box to attract wood ducks to your favorite waterway. Hunting How-To

DIY: Give Woodies a Home

Michael D. Faw - March 10, 2020

Think inside and outside the box to attract wood ducks to your favorite waterway.

Said the hunter: ‘We knew he was big, but not world-record big.' Big Game

World Record Rocky Mountain Goat Approved by Pope & Young

Game & Fish Digital Staff - February 20, 2020

Said the hunter: ‘We knew he was big, but not world-record big.'

Expert content, gear give-aways and discounts. Bows

Up Your Game with Bowhunter Basecamp

Game & Fish Staff - January 01, 1900

Expert content, gear give-aways and discounts.

See More Hunting How-To

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now