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Warden Asks Safety First With Tree Stands As Gun Hunt To Begin

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Hunters by the hundreds of thousands will be in the woods and fields this weekend as Wisconsin's gun deer hunt begins, but safety experts say the hunt, and possibly the hunter's life, could be severely affected by a fall from an elevated tree stand.

A conservation warden based in Rhinelander, Jim Jung says hunters spend a lot of money on clothing, gear and firearms but doing basic tree stand safety also is necessary...

"....the basic things like making sure the firearm is unloaded, utilizing a haul line, having a safety rope and a harness. When you get secured in there you haul your firearm up. Make sure that you have the three points of contact and you're not trying to juggle a firearm or a backpack and attempting to climb a ladder like that. It's the basic stuff...."

Jung says that old familar tree that's been used for years might not be so safe any more... 

"...We've had a lot of heavy winds here and if some of the hunters have permanent tree stands on private lands, they need to be sure to check those tree stands annually. Hopefully people have done that. They've confirmed the wood is good and the tree is in sound condition..."

Jung says be sure to take a cell phone with you and put it in a pocket where if you happen to get caught in your harness, the phone won't fall from your pocket. Jung says they will be working with law enforcement and first responders to get help to injured hunters. He says one critical thing a hunter should do is tell someone where they're hunting so if a problem occurs, searchers will have a better idea where to start looking.

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