The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is reminding hunters to give some thought to hunting safety, especially for treestands during the off-season.
It may seem counterintuitive at this time of year, but treestand safety is important at times other than hunting season.
"Unfortunately, every year there are a number of treestand accidents with injury before deer season even opens," said Travis Casper. "We need hunters to think about and practice treestand safety all the time, not just during hunting season."
If you are scouting a location and putting up your treestand, even on a trial basis, use the same precautions you would during hunting season:
Wear a full-body safety harness.
Use a lifeline or lineman's belt to stay connected when you're off the ground.
Maintain three points of contact when climbing.
Follow manufacturer instructions.
Have an emergency signal and tell someone where you plan to go.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission urges frequent hunting equipment inspection. Long-term placement (leaving your treestand up from one season to the next) has some inherent problems that outweigh any convenience. Exposure to the elements will damage straps, ropes and attachment cords and potentially lead to premature failure. Trees are living, growing things and alter over time, also affecting stability.
"So, if you or someone you know has had a treestand up for an extended length of time, take it down," Casper said. "Inspect it. Replace rusted bolts, frayed straps or, if needed, buy a new treestand. Your life could depend on it."
Successful completion of hunter education is required for all first-time hunting license buyers in North Carolina. Courses are offered by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, with schedules and registration available at www.ncwildlife.org.