EAU CLAIRE – As hunters get ready to head out into the woods for the big gun deer opener in Wisconsin, doctors are urging men and women to use proper safety devices and procedures to avoid a tragedy.
“Every year we see people hurt from falls from tree stands. Sadly, some in Wisconsin have died in years past. That’s why it’s so important to practice proper safety procedures,” said HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals’ Chief Physician Executive Dr. Erik Dickson. “The use of a harness and always keeping three points of contact on a ladder are critical,” he adds.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says research shows falls from tree stands and similar elevated platforms are the largest source of injuries and deaths of hunters nationwide in Wisconsin.
According to the Wisconsin DNR:
Always wear a full-body harness also known as a fall-arrest system. Connect to your tether line and keep your tether line short. The tether is designed to keep you in the seat, not to catch you after you fall.
Always have three points of contact while climbing into and out of the tree stand: This means two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand at all times.
Always use a haul line to raise and lower your unloaded firearm or bow into and out of the stand. You can also use the haul for other things like a heavy backpack.
Use a lifeline when climbing up and down, this keeps you connected from the time you leave the ground to the time you get back down.
Be aware of suspension trauma. Suspension trauma can happen in less than 20 minutes and can be fatal. Attaching an additional foot strap to the body harness will take pressure off your upper legs.
“We want all hunters to have a safe and enjoyable time out in the woods this year. We want them to remember safety, so they can tell stories around the campfire, instead of here at the hospital,” Dickson added.