Tree-Stand Safety

Tree-stand Safety Guidelines

  • ALWAYS wear a Fall-Arrest System (FAS)/Full Body Harness even during ascent and descent. Be aware that single strap belts and chest harnesses are no longer recognized as a Fall- Arrest system, and should not be used. Failure to use a FAS could result in serious injury or death.
  • ALWAYS read and understand the manufacturer’s WARNINGS & INSTRUCTIONS before using the tree-stand each season. Practice with the tree-stand at ground level prior to using at elevated positions. Maintain the WARNINGS & INSTRUCTIONS for later review as needed, for instructions on usage to anyone borrowing your stand, or to pass on when selling the tree-stand. Use all safety devices provided with your tree-stand.
  • NEVER exceed the weight limit specified by the manufacturer. If you have any questions after reviewing the WARNINGS & INSTRUCTIONS, please contact the manufacturer.
  • ALWAYS inspect the tree-stand and the Fall-Arrest System for signs of wear or damage before each use. Contact the manufacturer for replacement parts. Destroy all products that cannot be repaired by the manufacturer and/or exceed recommended expiration date, or if the manufacturer no longer exists. The FAS should be discarded and replaced after a fall has occurred.
  • ALWAYS practice in your Full Body Harness in the presence of a responsible adult prior to using it in an elevated hunting environment, learning what it feels like to hang suspended in it at ground level and how to properly use your suspension relief device.
  • ALWAYS attach your Full Body Harness in the manner and method described by the manufacturer. Failure to do so may result in suspension without the ability to recover into your tree-stand. Be aware of the hazards associated with Full Body Harnesses and the fact that prolonged suspension in a harness may be fatal. 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 a plan for recover/escape. If you have to hang suspended for a period of time before help arrives, exercise your legs by pushing against the tree or doing any other form of continuous motion or use your suspension relief device. Failure to recover in a timely manner could result in serious injury or death. If you do not have the ability to recover/escape, hunt from the ground.
  • ALWAYS hunt with a plan and if possible a buddy. Before you leave home, let others know your exact hunting location, when you plan to return and who is with you.
  • ALWAYS carry emergency signal devices such as a cell phone, walkie-talkie, whistle, signal flare, PLD (personal locator device) and flashlight on your person at all times and within reach even while you are suspended in your FAS. Watch for changing weather conditions. In the event of an accident, remain calm and seek help immediately.
  • ALWAYS select the proper tree for use with your tree-stand. Select a live straight tree that fits within the size limits recommended in your tree-stand’s instructions. Do not climb or place a tree-stand against a leaning tree. Never leave a tree-stand installed for more than two weeks since damage could result from changing weather conditions and/or from other factors not obvious with a visual inspection.
  • ALWAYS use a haul line to pull up your gear and unloaded firearm or bow to your tree-stand once you have reached your desired hunting height. Never climb with anything in your hands or on your back. Prior to descending, lower your equipment on the opposite side of the tree.
  • ALWAYS know your physical limitations. Don’t take chances. Do not climb when using drugs, alcohol or if you’re sick or un-rested. If you start thinking about how high you are, don’t go any higher.
  • NEVER use homemade or permanently elevated stands or make modifications to a purchased tree-stand without the manufacturer’s written permission. Only purchase and use tree-stands and Fall-Arrest Systems meeting or exceeding industry standards.
  • NEVER hurry!! While climbing with a tree-stand, make slow, even movements of no more than ten to twelve inches at a time. Make sure you have proper contact with the tree and/or tree-stand every time you move. On ladder-type tree-stands, maintain three points of contact with each step.

Each year dozens of hunters across North America are injured as a result of falls from tree-stands. Some of those injuries are fatal.
The most unfortunate part of such a statistic is that the majority of these accidents, of not, all of them, could have been prevented if the hunter had only taken one or more steps to ensure a safe hunt.

With literally hundreds of different tree-stands currently on the market from a dozen or more manufacturers, hunters have a wide variety of choices when it comes to selecting the brand and model they wish to use. Here, tree stand safety, relates directly to purchasing equipment from a reputable manufacturer. The price of second-hand or irregular stands may at first seem attractive; however, hunters should inspect such bargains closely, or avoid them altogether. Most manufacturers are more than happy to assist hunters with any and all questions they might have concerning the purchase of a tree stand. Veteran tree stand users, also, are a good source of information, as product reviews and evaluations found in many of the nations publications.  

The first thing a hunter should do after purchasing a new tree stand is to thoroughly read the instructions concerning assembly, placement and fastening. Again, many of these questions can be answered by the manufacturer’s representative, or from another hunter skilled in the proper use of that particular type of tree stand. Ignorance of operation is no excuse in an accidental situation.

Picking the right tree in which to hang a stand is as important to preventing an accident as is reading the instructions on use and operation. Hunters should not be tempted to hang a stand in a less than suitable location just because trees are at a premium. If such locations show promise, hunters may want to consider alternative methods of concealment.
Safe trees have strong, straight trunks, with no dead tops or limbs that could windfall and injure a hunter. Trees with medium-rough bark such as oak hold stands well. Rough-barked trees such as shagbark hickory, or smooth bark like beech can present slippage problems.
Hunters should only hang stands at heights where they feel comfortable. In most cases, heights of 12 to 18 feet are adequate, however, heights may differ with terrain and topography.

Hunters should make sure that all the steps leading to the stand itself are free office and snow either before or as they climb. Ladders and other steps can be easily swept clean with a small whisk-broom or even a few passes of a glove hand. Step surfaces can also be sprayed with a rough textured paint or wrapped with a textured tape in order to provide better traction in less than ideal conditions.
The floor base of the stand should also be cleared of snow, ice or water prior to the hunter getting into position.

Fall Arrest Harnesses are NOT an option for tree stand users. They are a NECESSITY. Many stands come with harnesses. Those that don’t often include information that will help hunters purchase the right safety equipment. Manufacturers, also, can suggest the proper equipment, as can experienced tree stand hunters.
Many of today’s harnesses are different in design and proper use.
Hunters need to completely read the instructions manual that is included with their harness and be fully familiar with the use and operation of the harness of their choice.
Eighteen feet above the ground is no place to begin learning how a piece of safety equipment works. And remember.... never carry or pull up a loaded firearm or bow into a tree stand.


  • Always use a fall restraint while using an elevated device.
  • Use a fall restraint while hanging a tree stand. They make the job easier and safer.
  • The tether between your safety restraint and the tree should be above you to the main tree trunk and offer little slack.
  • Always practice with new equipment at ground level before using it in the field. Learn your stand’s strengths, characteristics and limitations. Purchase and use climbing systems such as the TRIUE NORTH TREESTANDS Ladder System, that allow you to stay securely to something
  • solid, the entire time you are off the ground.
  • Inspect stands and safety gear before each use for flaws and weaknesses.
  • Stay out of permanent stands.
  • Be careful when using portable stands on smooth barked trees such as aspen/poplar, birch, maple and hickory, as many portable stands do not
  • offer the non-slip design of the TRUE NORTH TREESTANDS Hanger Bracket.
  • Don’t use branches for climbing. NEVER step on a dead branch, no matter how secure it may look.
  • Be cautious in icy, rainy or snowy conditions.
  • Always use a rope to raise and lower your gear.
  • NEVER modify your commercially made stand or safety device. It was designed that way for a reason.
  • TREAT TREE STANDS AS YOU WOULD A LOADED FIREARM..... The minute you stop respecting them, they’ll kill you.