DNR Reminds Hunters About Tree Stand Security As Accidents Climb Amid Pandemic Recreation

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An employee of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources shows how to safely set up a climbing tree stand.

Indiana DNR / Youtube

The number one cause of hunting accidents in Indiana is not gun mishandling, but tree falling. Falling from a tree stand can result in broken bones, paralysis, or even death.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is trying to train deer hunters as more and more of them go into the forest. As outdoor recreation increased during the pandemic, hunting accidents more than doubled from 2019 to 2020. This emerges from the International Hunter Education Association USA.

READ MORE: The hunt in Indiana is ongoing during the COVID-19 pandemic

“We already had a tree stand accident in northern Indiana – and that was when someone tried to set up their stand ahead of the season in anticipation of the season, and it wasn’t properly secured,” said Captain Jet Quillen, chief public relations officer for the Law Enforcement Department DNR.

Although tree accidents are nothing new, Quillen says that not every hunter uses a safety harness like they should.

“They really haven’t gone mainstream like they have been in recent years. So just educate the public about the importance of using them, “he said.

Quillen said seasoned hunters may want to use worn or outdated harnesses and tree stands – and may want to invest in new ones. He said hunters should check their tree populations – and the tree they set their booth in – before going on the hunt to make sure everything is safe.

The DNR also advises hunters to plan their hunt – this includes letting someone know where they are going and when they are likely to return. The agency has other safe hunting tips from DNR, as well as videos showing how to safely grow different types of trees.

Contact reporter Rebecca at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

Indiana’s environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project that develops Indiana-specific projections and informed answers to environmental change issues.