Tree stand dangers hunters need to know

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - This weekend marks the start of deer season in Arkansas.  Before you head out, there are things you need to know to stay safe before you shoot your first arrow.

Thousands of hunters will be hitting the woods ready to bag their first buck of the season.  But not everyone walks away unscathed every year some hunters get hurt.

"Each year we have people that go to the woods with a new stand and have never used it.  They don't know how to put it on the tree or fasten it properly.  It seems like some falls occur because of that," said Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Regional Education Coordinator Chuck Long.

If you get a new stand read the instructions before you try to use it.

"This is one of the most commonly used type of stands in Arkansas.  People like it because it's very mobile.  You can hunt in different places.  You're not in one spot all the time," said Long.

Long said we'll probably have close to 400,000 people hunting this year in the state.

"Last year in Arkansas we only had 12 incidents of injury while hunting.  Half of those occurred when somebody fell out of a deer stand," said Long.

There are a lot of different types of tree stands you can use in the state of Arkansas but you can fall out of any of them.  That's why it's important to use your safety equipment.

"Each year we seem to have an incident related to this:  attach your equipment, your gun your bow whatever, with a rope then climb up into your stand and pull all your gear up to you," said Long.

When you are going hunting it's important to tell someone where you will be!  If something happens or you fall out of your stand and can't get to help someone will know where to find you.

There are other dangers lurking in the woods you have to be aware of, especially following January's ice storm.

We have a limb hanging right back here that's dead you wouldn't want to put your stand anywhere close to that tree," said Long.

If you leave your stand set up you also need to check it for any damage caused by the ice storm and clear out any debris around your stand.

Using a tree stand is a good thing for a lot of hunters it gets you above the sight line of the deer and gets your scent off the ground.

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