Fall-Arrest Systems (FAS)
The National Bowhunter Education Foundation recommends using a fall-arrest system (FAS) that is manufactured to industry standards. Carefully read and follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper use of your FAS.
Also follow these safety guidelines:
- With an adult present, practice adjusting and using your FAS, including the suspension relief strap, at ground level before hunting from an elevated stand.
- Attach the FAS tree strap to the tree so that the strap is at head level when you are standing. Attach the tether to the tree strap so that you have no slack while seated in your stand. If you fall, you do not want your feet to drop below a level that would keep you from climbing back onto the platform.
- When climbing into or out of a tree stand, always use three points of contact with your hands and feet.
- Keep a firm hold on the climbing system as you enter or leave a platform, and don't let go until you're certain you are secure.
- If you fall:
- Do not panic. Your FAS will hold you.
- Signal for help.
- Get back onto the platform as quickly as possible.
- Use the suspension relief strap to avoid suspension trauma if you cannot get onto the platform or the ground. If you do not have a suspension relief strap, move your legs by pushing off from the tree to keep your blood flowing.
- Discard any FAS that shows signs of wear and tear or has been worn during a fall. Also adhere to the expiration date sewn into the FAS by the manufacturer.
Injuries or death can occur when hunting from a stand if hunters do not wear and use their FAS properly. Hunters who choose not to wear their FAS should stay on the ground to hunt.
Always use a properly fitting FAS that includes a full-body harness while climbing a tree, installing a tree stand that uses climbing aids, and hunting from a tree stand. (When using a ladder stand, attach your FAS to the tree and tighten the tether as soon as you reach the top of the ladder.)
Make sure your FAS includes these components:
- A full-body harness—can be the vest style of full-body harness
- A lineman's-style belt—used when climbing up and down the tree
- Tree strap—goes around the tree
- Tether—attaches the harness to the tree strap
- A suspension relief strap—provides a loop to stand in if you fall.
Single-strap belts and chest harnesses do not meet industry standards.