According to Vermont Fish & Wildlife, the majority of hunting-related injuries or deaths involve tree stands.
“Life can change in an instant, and life can be over in an instant,” said Paul Libby, of Chelsea, Vermont.
Libby shares his story often, hoping to reach hunters who use tree stands. It starts with a family hunting trip to Ohio in the fall of 2010.
“I got to my stand and left the harness in the truck. I later fell and I broke my back. I pinched my spinal cord, which immediately put me into paralysis,” said Libby.
Llibby says hunters use the tree stand should practice with the equipment thoroughly before heading out.
Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s Ali Thomas has more advice.
“Make sure you get one that is certified by the Treestand Manufacturers Association, and also always wear a harness,” said Thomas.
She added that hunters should never carry a gun or bow up the ladder — it’s an accident waiting to happen. “Instead you want to use a haul line, and make sure that your firearm is not loaded,” said Thomas.
Libby knows one small accident can change your life forever. He urges hunters to make a plan — let someone know where you will be and how long you’ll be gone.
“Now I have the chance to share the story of why safety is important, and how it can directly affect you,” said Libby.