When Should A Hunter Wear A Fall Arrest System – A fall arrest system is very important for a hunter’s safety. The strategy of hunting from a treestand is well-known and used frequently. Deer do not usually look up to see if there are predators, so hunters have an advantage.
They are so effective that they are used everywhere, especially in the East when hunting white-tailed deer. But if you ask anyone who has ever climbed stairs in the dark, used a climber that fell, or had a strap break, they will tell you that it is one of the most terrifying experiences a hunter can go through.
In hunter education, the statistic that 30% of treestand users will have an accident. In addition, a spinal fracture occurred in 60% of accidents, the average age was 40, and the average hospital stay was 10 days. The need to be aware of and practice tree stand safety comes from all this math.
Fall Arrest Systems (FAS) save lives. They hold onto hunts. By preventing accidents, they spare families from unnecessary pain and suffering. New treestands have always included a safety harness and a DVD (now typically a link) that shows how to properly and safely wear a FAS.
The National Bowhunter Education Foundation advises using an industry-standard fall-arrest system (FAS). For safe use of your FAS, carefully read and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources also urge hunters to wear a harness while using treestand.
When Should A Hunter Wear A Fall Arrest System (FAS)?
Simple! Your harness should be on and you should be maintaining multiple points of contact whenever your feet are above the ground. This comprises:
- When hanging a tree stand using climbing aids
- When entering and exiting a tree stand
- While hunting from a tree stand
How Does a FAS Work?
Fall Arrest Systems attempt to reduce the dangers associated with climbing and hunting from elevated positions. They have been adapted for use in hunting, but their design is based on mountaineering harnesses. The harness wraps around the thighs and over the shoulders securely. A person puts on the harness, pulls the top on like a coat, and then connects each side in the middle on their front. After that, the tree tether joins a lineman’s belt above the hunter.
This reduces the actual fall distance for a hunter. The suspension relief strap hooks into the harness, typically around the tail, after a fall, allowing the wearer to put one foot in the loop and get up. If a hunter is hanging for an extended period of time waiting for assistance, this can help prevent compartment syndrome. The hunter can use distance assist devices to gradually lower to the ground.
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions for each item carefully. Watch any video that you find.
- Before climbing, always check your equipment.
- Adjust your harness so that it is snug but not too tight.
- Frayed or cut straps
- Broken clasps and connections
- Do not completely unfasten your harness from the tree until you are on the ground.
- When climbing, try to maintain three points of contact.
- Prior to hunting from an elevated position, practice adjusting and using your FAS, including the suspension relief strap.
- Always wear your FAS full-body harness, attach it to the tree at ground level, and keep it attached throughout your hunt to protect yourself if a fall occurs.
- Wrap the belt around the tree before attaching the other end of the FAS lineman’s-style belt to the opposite side of the FAS full-body harness.
- When installing or removing the hang-on tree stand or its climbing aids, wear the FAS lineman’s-style belt with your FAS full-body harness. When you climb into or out of a hang-on stand, you can also use the belt with your full-body harness.
- Use the FAS tree strap and tether to secure your FAS full-body harness to the tree in any tree stand, including ladder stands. Make sure the tree strap is at or above your head level when standing when you attach it to the tree. Adjust both the tree strap and the tether after you have attached it so that there is no slack while you are seated in your stand. You should not fall below a level that would prevent you from returning to the platform after a fall.
- Hunters who do not wear and use their FAS properly should stay on the ground because they are at risk of getting hurt or dying.
- When using a portable or ladder stand that does not require climbing, hunters should install ladders or steps in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- When climbing up and down, hunters should always wear a Fall-Arrest System (FAS) or Full Body Harness and follow the manufacturer’s usage instructions. Keep in mind that chest harnesses and single-strap belts are no longer recommended and should not be used. Using a FAS improperly could result in serious harm or death.
- Hunters should always attach their FAS in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t, you might be suspended without the ability to get back into the tree stand. Be aware of the dangers posed by full-body harnesses and the possibility of death from prolonged harness suspension.
- Have a rescue strategy in place that calls for using signal devices or cell phones that can be easily reached and used while suspended.
- You must have an alternate strategy for recovery or escape in case rescue workers are unable to be notified.
- Before going out, think about how you feel physically. It is recommended that you only hunt from the ground if you are unable to recover or escape a FAS.
- When bringing their gear, unloaded firearm, or bow into their tree stand, hunters should ALWAYS use a haul line. Never climb with a backpack or anything in your hands. Lower equipment to the ground on the other side of the tree before you descend.
- It is important to remain awake and alert. Prior to hunting, hunters should avoid drowsy-producing medications. Also, never drink or use drugs before or during a hunt.
- Hunters should always let someone know where they are hunting and when they anticipate returning.
- When climbing into and out of the treestand, you should always have three points of contact: two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand at all times.
- When moving an unloaded firearm or bow into or out of the stand, always use a haul line. A separate haul line can also be used for other things, like a bulky backpack.
- Carry a cell phone with you so that you can get help if you fall and hurt yourself.
- In addition to adhering to the fundamental guidelines for treestand safety, hunters should make use of situational awareness. Always choose a tree that is sturdy enough to withstand your weight. Before using your equipment, check to see that the lines are still in place, that the harness fits, and that there are no snags or tears in it that could prevent it from working properly. Also, check your stand to make sure it doesn’t have any broken parts or parts that are missing.
One quarter of bowhunters, according to surveys, have fallen or been close to falling from an elevated stand. Regardless of whether a hunter is using a hang-on stand, a tower stand, or a ladder stand, wearing harnesses should be part of their daily routine. According to research that has been published, risky climbing behavior can catch up with hunters over time. A fall-arrest system, also known as a full-body harness, should always be worn by hunters.
What if I trip?
Any of us can experience it at any time. You will be prepared to quickly extricate yourself; if you prepare now.
- Make sure your suspension strap is readily available prior to climbing. Also, make sure you can use one hand to reach your phone or satellite communication device.
- Remain calm. Your gear is preventing you from falling if you have followed the instructions.
- Make an effort to return to your stand or using climbing aids.
- Apply your suspension strap and call for assistance if you are unable to do so. Use the strap to stand while maintaining your leg movement.
- Get medical attention once you’re down.
- Completely replace your FAS’s components. Do not attempt to save money here because you cannot see the damage.
If you fall while standing:
- Don’t get anxious. You’ll be held back by FAS.
- Call for assistance.
- Climb as quickly as you can back onto the platform.
- If you have to wait for help, take precautions to avoid being suspended traumatized. Keep moving your legs if you don’t have a suspension relief strap.
Always remember, safety is a top priority and must not be joked with. It is one thing to be aware of the harms associated with making risky decisions but it is another thing to implement it.
Knowing when to wear a fall arrest system is good start to implementing the good safety procedures. Never forget to stay safe at all times.