By  Lt. Michael Weber, DNR Hunter Education Administrator

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds all hunters to brush up on their safety skills and best practices before archery and crossbow deer seasons open on Sept. 16.

Just like hunting with a rifle, archery and crossbow hunters should always remember the four rules of firearm safety, easily remembered as TAB-K:

  • Treat every bow/crossbow as if it were loaded.
  • Always point the bow/crossbow in a safe direction.
  • Be certain of your target; what’s before and beyond it.        
  • Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.

When heading out to hunt during the archery or crossbow seasons, remember these additional safety tips:

  • Crossbows have a safety. Always check to ensure that the safety is engaged immediately after cocking. 
  • Always use arrows or bolts that meet the recommendations of your bow or crossbow’s manufacturer and handle all equipment carefully. 
  • Protect yourself and the arrow points with a covered arrow quiver. 
  • The safest way to carry, transport and raise or lower a crossbow from a stand is always to have the crossbow un-cocked. 
  • Ensure that crossbow limbs are free of obstructions and that your hand and fingers are not in the string path at any time while the crossbow is cocked. 
  • Know your range for accuracy, and don’t shoot outside of it.

Tree Stand Safety:

  • Regardless of the type of tree stand used, always wear a full-body harness, also known as a fall-arrest system, that meets current industry standards
  • Connect the harness to the tether line and keep the tether line short. The tether is designed to keep the wearer in the seat and not catch them after falling.
  • Always keep three points of contact while climbing into and out of the tree stand. This means always keeping two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand in contact with the stand or ground.
  • Always use a haul line to raise and lower unloaded firearms or bow into and out of the stand. Hunters can also use the haul for other things like a heavy backpack.
  • Use a lifeline when climbing up and down; this keeps wearers connected from when they leave the ground to when they get back down.
  • Before heading out, tell someone where you’ll be hunting and when you expect to return. 
  • Carry a cell phone to call for help if anyone becomes injured after a fall.
  • More tree stand safety tips are available online.

As always, hunters should be sure to know the rules, regulations and season dates for the area they will be hunting before heading out. More information about best practices, rules and regulations, season dates, and more is available online.

Good luck to all archery and crossbow hunters across Wisconsin, and remember that safety is simply part of the fun. 

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