The deer hunting season is in full swing in Indiana, with the statewide archery deer season commencing on October 1st. With over 300,000 participants expected to join various deer hunting seasons running until January 31, 2024, safety remains a top priority.

While most hunters engage safely, accidents can and do happen, particularly in tree stands and elevated platforms. To ensure your safety, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources recommends that you follow these essential safety tips when hunting from an elevated position.

Before the Hunt

Before you head out to hunt, there are some things you will want to be sure that you do:

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Read and Understand Manufacturer's Instructions: Always familiarize yourself with the manufacturer's instructions for your tree stand. Understanding how it works is crucial for a safe hunting experience.

 

Inspect Your Equipment: Regularly check your tree stands and equipment for signs of wear, fatigue, cracks, or loose nuts and bolts. Pay extra attention to non-metal components.

 

Use Hunting-Specific Equipment: Ensure you pack and use equipment designed explicitly for hunting. Using gear designed for the purpose enhances safety.

 

Practice Setup on the Ground: Before going up into the tree stand, practice using and setting it up at ground level. Familiarity with the equipment is key to avoiding accidents.

 

Wear a Full-Body Safety Harness: Always wear a full-body safety harness, which can prevent falls and serious injuries.

During the Hunt

During the hunt, it is incredibly important that you continue to practice safe hunting practices:

Harness Always On: Keep your full-body safety harness securely fastened at all times while you're in the tree stand.

 

Tree Stand Safety Rope: Use a tree stand safety rope to prevent accidents while ascending or descending from the tree stand.

 

Secure Harness Before Leaving Ground: Ensure your harness is attached to the tree before you leave the ground, and it should stay attached until you return to the ground.

 

Maintain Three Points of Contact: While climbing up or down from the tree stand, always have three points of contact for stability.

 

Proper Footwear: Wear boots with nonslip soles to prevent slipping accidents.

 

Use a Haul Line: To raise and lower your firearms, bows, and hunting gear, use a haul line. Never climb with your gear in hand.

 

Firearm Safety: Before attaching firearms to the haul line, ensure they are unloaded, the action is open, and the safety is on.

General Safety Tips for All Hunting

Carry a cell phone and Flashlight: Always have a cell phone and flashlight with you for communication and visibility.

Plan Your Hunt: Before heading out, create a well-thought-out plan, including your hunting location and return time.

 

Inform Someone About Your Plan: Share your plan with someone you trust, so they know where you'll be hunting and when you expect to return.

 

Stick to Your Plan: Once you've made a plan, stick to it. This ensures that someone knows where to find you if necessary.

 

Identify Your Target: Always identify your game before pointing a firearm. Never shoot without certainty.

 

Know Your Target and Beyond: Be aware of what is beyond your target to prevent accidental injuries.

By following these safety guidelines, you can enjoy your deer hunting experience in Indiana while minimizing the risk of accidents. For additional information and resources, visit hunting.IN.gov. Stay safe and have a successful hunting season!

[Source: Indiana DNR]

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