The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is reminding hunters to take extra care when they step into their tree stands during hunting season The IDNR Office of Law Enforcement, which administers the state’s Hunter Safety Education Program, has investigated six hunting incidents so far during 2019, three of which involved hunters falling from elevated tree stands or falling while climbing into or out of tree stands.
IDNR Spokesperson Rachel Torbert says that last year also saw a huge uptick in tree stand accidents. “Believe it or not, when most people think of hunting and especially firearms and firearm accidents; but in 2018, there were 19 hunting accidents reported during all hunting seasons in Illinois and 14 of those involved tree stand accidents. “
When utilizing a tree stand, hunters should check that their stand is installed properly. They should check the harness and straps and replace worn straps if needed; and, check the ladder and other equipment before use to make sure they are in working order. They also should be aware of weather conditions that could make stands and steps slippery. Hunters should have their cellphones within easy reach to call for help, if needed.
Torbert says not to get complacent when heading out to the brush: “Just because your tree stand was secure last season, doesn’t mean it over wintered and it’s secured now. Make sure you’re using a restraint system, a fall arrest system with a safety harness, in case you would happen to fall.”
Illinois’ busiest hunting season, the seven-day firearm deer season, begins on Friday through Sunday, Nov. 22-24, and will conclude Thursday through Sunday, Dec. 5-8.The Illinois Archery Deer Season opened Oct. 1 and continues through Jan. 19, 2020. Archery deer season is closed during the firearm deer weekends except in those counties where firearm deer hunting is not permitted. For more information, visit dnr.illinois.gov.