Never hunt from treestand without harness

Every deer season, loss of life tragedies could be avoided. We lose hunters each year to falls from treestands. Wearing a safety harness would likely have saved those lives. Safety is paramount when hunting from an elevated perch. Deer hunters across the country who are sitting in treestands owe to their families and friends to wear a safety harness.

Most treestands sold commercially come with an included safety harness these days. For those that do not, there are many options available at your local sporting goods store. These range in price from not much more than 20 bucks to a couple of hundred. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to protect yourself from a fall.

Spending more days in a treestand each year than the average hunter does in a decade, Phillip Vanderpool knows the odds are against him. At some point, no matter how careful one is, statistics say you are going to have an accident. That’s why it is so important to always, always wear a safety harness while you’re hunting from a treestand and to use a support line when climbing.

“I wear a Hunter Safety System every time I’m up a tree,” Vanderpool said. “I know what my friend, and so many others go through with their injuries sustained from a fall. I take every precaution to protect myself from serious injury, and I strongly encourage you to do the same.”

One statistic that may surprise you is a very small percentage of falls actually occur once hunters are situated in their stand. Nearly 90% of falls occur while ascending or descending a tree, or climbing onto or off of a stand. Many hunters make the potentially fatal mistake of climbing unprotected. Don’t do this. Your loved ones deserve more from you.

“I use the Hunter Safety System Life Line when I’m going up or down a tree,” Vanderpool said. It’s really simple. You install it while wearing a lineman style climbing belt, then each time you climb up or down from then on, you clip your harness to the Life Line and a knot slides up or down the line with you. If you fall, the knot chinches on the line and stops your fall.”

The first time is typically the most dangerous time up a tree, because if you are going to break a branch, then the first time you step on it is the most likely time for it to snap. Being careful and cautious, and taking your time is a must.

“I’m telling you guys, treestand falls are a bad, bad thing that just don’t need to happen. It just hit real close to home for me when Brandon Amos, a young man I trained on video, fell. He stepped on a limb and it went. He broke his right arm and fractured four vertebrates in his back. He’s very lucky to not paralyzed,” Vanderpool said.

If you’re going to hunt from a treestand, then you need to wear safety equipment. There is no excuse. With today’s advanced harnesses, you’ll be comfortable while protecting yourself, and your family. From the time your feet leave the ground until they touch back down, wear safety equipment. Don’t risk it. Your life is way too important. Wear a safety harness, and use a support line.

For more information about how to safely use treestands, visit the Treestand Manufactures Website at

See you down the trail.

Brandon Butler writes an outdoors column for The Republic. Send comments to [email protected] For more Driftwood Outdoors, check out the podcast on or anywhere podcasts are streamed.