North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

From the field: Tree Stand Safety Practices Could Save Your Life

Author: Ryan Kennemur/Tuesday, October 24, 2017/Categories: Hunting

From the field: Tree Stand Safety Practices Could Save Your Life

I’d like to share my story with the hopes that it could make other hunters aware of the importance of tree stand safety.

I recently experienced a 20-foot fall while trying to get into my hanging tree stand. This happened when the last section of my climbing sticks broke while I was climbing. I landed on a cut tree that was around three feet tall and three inches in diameter. All of my weight came down on the tree, impaling my left upper chest/axillae area. The tree entered from the side of my chest and the impact caused air pockets and trauma in my shoulder and chest.

I have no permanent damage that the doctors can see. All of my major organs, blood vessels and nerves were missed. People who fall from these kinds of heights usually do not make it like I did. I have a pretty lengthy recovery ahead and won’t be able to do much hunting, fishing golfing or weight lifting for a while. Missing main arteries by just a couple millimeters and being able to walk back to the truck is truly a miracle.

I always wear a safety harness when hunting from a tree stand. Unfortunately, that harness did not help because I was not in my stand and attached to the tree. This incident could have easily been prevented if I used a Hunter Safety System Lifeline rope. This rope attaches to the top of the tree and goes all the way to the ground. It has a Prusik knot that attaches to your harness and it follows you up the tree as you climb. If you fall while climbing the tree, the knot tightens and prevents you from falling. If I had used a lifeline, I would not be in the situation I am today.

I urge anyone who hunts to think about this and always wear a safety harness and get a lifeline system by Hunter Safety System. They are expensive for some people but it is much cheaper than a hospital bill. If you know anyone that hunts, or if you’re a hunter yourself, please help spread the word. I do not want anyone to have to deal with what I am having to go through. Some people may not be as lucky as I was.

Chris Phinney
Raleigh, N.C.
Guest Blogger

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