r Make sure someone knows where you’re hunting and when you expect to return home. Leave a note or topographic map with your family or a friend. Pack a cellphone for emergencies.

r Always use a fall-restraint device – preferably a full-body harness – when hunting from a tree stand. Wear the device from the moment you leave the ground until you return. Don’t climb dead, wet or icy trees. Stay on the ground on blustery days. Keep yourself in good physical condition. Fatigue can impact judgment, coordination and reaction time, as well as accuracy.

r Always carry a whistle to signal passersby in the event you become immobile. A compass and matches or lighter and tinder also are essential survival gear items to have along. An extra flashlight bulb also can be helpful.

r Use a hoist rope to lift your bow and backpack to your tree stand. Trying to climb with either will place you at unnecessary risk.

r Don’t sleep in a tree stand! If you can’t stay awake, return to the ground.

r Always carry broadhead-tipped arrows in a protective quiver.

r If you use a mechanical release, always keep your index finger away from the trigger when drawing.

r The manufacturer’s recommendations for all equipment and check your equipment before each use.

r Practice climbing with your tree stand before dawn on the opening day of the season. Consider placing non-slip material on the deck of your tree stand if it’s not already there.

r Never walk with a nocked, broadhead-tipped arrow or bolt.

r Cocked crossbows should always be pointed in a safe direction.