I think the last place any of us would want to be is up in a tree with a loaded weapon when our deer stand fails. That's a recipe for a trip to an urgent care, emergency room, or undertaker that unfortunately gets written every hunting season in Louisiana.

The sad part about this kind of accident is that it is totally preventable. All it takes is a few minutes, a little elbow grease, and maybe a working knowledge of how your tree stand operates.

Eric Shanks is a hunter education specialist with Louisiana's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. He explained just how easy it is for hunters to begin the season safely.

That really starts well before the season even kicks off you don’t want to wait until the day before you’re planning on going to hunt before you find out you’ve got a problem with a cable on your tree stand and you need to replace it.

Shanks's comments were chronicled in a story published by the Louisiana Radio Network.

According to Shanks a little over one-third of all deer stand accidents are the result of failed inspection elements. In other words, a quick check of the stand and its pieces and parts before you hit the woods can make all the difference between a hunting trip and a trip to the doctor's office.

Then comes the issue of using the safety harness,

Most of the incidents that are associated with falling from a tree stand, or almost all of them, would have been prevented if the folks would have worn a safety harness and been connected to the tree the whole time.

86% of all fall victims were not wearing the safety harness at the time gravity got the better of them. So, if you were needing proof or a reason to utilize the safety features of your stand, there's a good one. Besides, the deer won't think your not cool if you don't use the harness, they're deer, they just want to eat, mate, and not get shot by you.

If you have questions about the safety and integrity of your deer stand you can find out more by visiting this website from the Tree Stand Safety Awareness Foundation. They've got some great ideas and timely tips that should keep you safely off the ground, in the woods, and well on the way to harvesting that trophy buck for your wall and the meat for your freezer.