The Missouri Department of Conservation is urging safety during bow hunting season.
Bow season for deer started Sept. 15 and runs through Jan. 15, with the exception of the firearms season in November.
That means deer –and hunters– are on the move. Jim Low with Conservation says most accidents associated with bow hunting are a result of falls from tree stands.
Low says the most dangerous times — when falls usually happen — is when hunters are climbing up to, down from or in and out of tree stands.
“Deer and Deer Hunting Magazine conducted a survey and they found that one in three tree-stand hunters will have a tree-stand accident at some time,” he says. “If it hasn’t happened to you yet, the chances are pretty good that it will.”
He says hunters should always let someone know where they will be hunting so if an accident happens, someone will know where to search.
Low says having a good, sturdy stand and wearing a full-body harness can prevent serious falls. Low says hunters are also urged use a haul rope to bring their gear up, that allows them to keep their hands free while climbing up.
He says a whistle or an air horn can also be a life saver — something to signal so people can find a fall victim when they need help.
“Be aware of the condition of the stand, check the parts, take a look at how it’s mounted everytime you climb in, make sure it’s not worn,” he says. “Permanent stand made of wood, they deteriorate after time. A disproportionate number of falls are attributed to wood stands that have worn down.”
Conservation recommends those who buy a tree stand get one that is certified by the Tree Stand Manufacturers Association.