“Every year, we receive reports of archery hunters injuring themselves,” says Gary Cook, Wildlife Recreation Program coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources.
Two practices lead to most of the accidents: not being safe in tree stands or having arrows out of your quiver when you shouldn’t.
Cook provides the following advice to help you avoid these accidents:
• If you’re going to hunt from a tree stand, make sure it’s large enough to hold your weight before you start climbing the tree.
To lessen the chance that you’ll fall while climbing the tree, leave your bow, arrows and other equipment on the ground, and attach a haul line to them. Also, be sure to use an approved safety harness (also called a fall arrest system), and always secure yourself to the tree as soon as you leave the ground.
“Once you reach your stand and have attached your safety harness to your final location,” Cook says, “then use your haul line to lift your gear to you.”
Cook also recommends using a portable tree stand, rather than building a “permanent” one. “Permanent tree stands can deteriorate and become unsafe,” he says. “Also, they clutter the landscape. And you can damage or kill the tree by hammering nails into it.”
If you’re hunting on a national forest or on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Utah, you’ll have to use a portable tree stand—permanent tree stands are illegal.
• Until you’re ready to shoot, keep your arrows in a quiver that has a hood on it that covers the broadheads. “One of the most common accidents we see is archers jabbing themselves or other hunters while carrying arrows in their hand or nocked on their bow,” Cook says. “Keep your arrows in a quiver until you’re ready to shoot.”
State law requires that arrows be kept in a case while the arrows are in or on a vehicle. When you’re outside your vehicle, it’s up to you to protect yourself.