RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)—Deer hunting season opens this weekend with archery season, and officials have some tips for staying safe.

With tree stands being popular for hunting from an elevated stand, officials are reminding hunters how they can be dangerous and easily overturn if they’re “not used correctly.”

And tree stand “incidents accounted for 20% of hunting-related incidents in 2021,” and that doesn’t include unreported incidents, officials said.

Carissa Daniels, the statewide education and engagement manager for the Wildlife Commission, shared some things you can do to stay safe while using a tree stand:

  • Always use a fall-arrest system
  • Follow manufacturer’s recommended safety procedures

Daniels shared how these two steps can help keep you safe in a tree stand.

“Those simple measures go a long way in helping hunters stay safe while hunting with a tree stand,” Daniels said.

And there are steps when preparing your tree stand that can help keep you safe as well.

Officials shared these tips:

Preparing to use your tree stand:

  • Remove all your equipment and inspect it for damage before using it. This includes belts, chains, bolts, ratchet straps and attachment cords. Replace them if necessary.
  • Wear a full-body safety harness as part of a fall-arrest system.
  • Ensure you do not exceed the stand manufacturer’s maximum height or weight limits.
  • Pack an emergency signal device, such as a cell phone, two-way radio or a whistle.

Setting up your tree stand:

  • Share your stand location with someone before each hunt.
  • Select a healthy, straight tree for your tree stand.
  • Ask someone to assist you with setting up the stand.

Using your tree stand:

  • Buckle your harness securely and connect to the tree tether before your feet leave the ground.
  • Maintain three points of contact when climbing the ladder; two hands and a foot or two feet
  • and a hand. Most falls occur when climbing up or down.
  • Use a lineman’s belt and/or lifeline when climbing or descending.
  • Raise and lower equipment using a haul line – never carry anything as you climb.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission also offers hunter education courses; you can find information for those here.

The archery season for white-tailed deer opens on Sept. 10, and you can find more information on the entire deer hunting season here.