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With the official deer archery season starting tomorrow, Indiana Conservation Officers are offering safety tips to help keep Hoosier deer hunters safe.

The various deer hunting seasons run through Jan. 31, 2020. It is estimated that more than 300,000 people will participate in some form of deer hunting in Indiana during that span. Such a large number makes safety more even more important.

The most common injuries during deer seasons are accidents involving tree stands and elevated platforms. Follow the safety tips listed below when hunting from an elevated position:

Before the hunt:

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

During the hunt:

  • Wear your full body safety harness.
  • Use a tree stand safety rope.
  • Make certain to attach your harness to the tree before leaving the ground, and that it remains attached to the tree until you return to the ground.
  • Maintain three points of contact during ascent and descent.
  • Use boots with non-slip soles to avoid slipping.
  • Use a haul line to raise and lower firearms, bows and other hunting gear.
  • Make certain firearms are unloaded before attaching the haul line.

Additional safety tips:

  • Carry emergency equipment, such as a cell phone and flashlight.
  • Make a plan before you hunt.
  • Tell someone your plan, including where you will be hunting and when you plan to return.
  • Stick to your plan.
  • Identify game before pointing a firearm.
  • Know your target and what is beyond it.