INDIANA (WEHT) – With deer reduction zone season underway, and archery season beginning on October 1, Indiana Conservation Officers want to remind hunters to stay safe.

According to a release from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the most common accidents that occur during deer season are injuries sustained due to falls from tree stands and elevated platforms. DNR advises that hunters should follow the safety tips listed below when hunting from these platforms.

Before beginning the hunt, hunters should:

  • Read and understand the tree stand manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Check tree stands and equipment for structural wear, fatigue and cracks, as well as loose nuts or bolts, paying close attention to parts made of material other than metal.
  • Practice at ground level.
  • Learn how to properly wear a full-body safety harness.

After following these tips and beginning the hunt, hunters should:

  • Wear a full-body safety harness.
  • Use a tree stand safety rope.
  • Make certain to attach a harness to the tree before leaving the ground, and that it remains attached to the tree until returning to the ground.
  • Maintaining three points of contact during ascent and descent.
  • Use boots with non-slip soles.
  • Use a haul line to rains and lower firearms, bows and other hunting gear.
  • Make sure firearms are unloaded, action is open and safety is on before attaching them to the haul line.

DNR also advises hunters to carry emergency equipment, such as a cellphone or flashlight, and ensuring that hunters make a plan before their hunt. Hunters should share this plan with someone they know, including where they will be hunting and when they should return.