Taking a stand

KAYLA BREEN/STAFF PHOTONew York State-Licensed Guide for Irish Raider Outfitters Scott Thurber (right) climbs up the ladder to his tree stand as New York State Assemblyman Billy Jones looks on.

PERU– Be prepared.

As hunting season in Northern New York gets into swing, Outfitter and New York State Licensed Guide Scott Thurber is reminding all Adirondack hunters to be prepared.

“If you’re going to hunt in the backwoods of the Adirondacks, you have to be prepared.”


Thurber, with the help of Franklin County Fish and Game Club’s Bob Brown, conducted a recent tree stand safety demonstration with special guest New York State Assemblyman Billy Jones at Irish Raider Outfitters in Peru.

During Tree Stand Safety Month (September), the trio wanted to bring awareness to the hazards of hunting before the season begins.

According to the Assemblyman’s press release, September is commonly the month where hunters head into the woods to hang their tree stands.

Impatient for the upcoming season, many hunters may hastily overlook simple safety measures that may mean the difference between bringing home a trophy and serious injury to oneself.

“What it boils down to is common sense,” Thurber said.

“Having been in emergency services for most of my life, there's a lack of common sense.”

“We all try to do something quickly and hastily rather than stepping back and saying, ‘Wait, I’m going too fast’,” he said.

According to the release, in 2017 there were 12 serious accidents involving tree stands in New York. Six of those accidents resulted in fatalities.

Thurber, Brown and Jones would like to see those numbers drop to zero.

“A fall from even a few feet up can leave someone injured or in serious condition,” said Thurber, who stressed the importance of harnesses and a tree stand lifeline system.

“When you’re ascending and descending, make sure to take your time,” he said.

“Make sure to have a good grip.”

Thurber and Brown also demonstrated how to ascend and descend a tree stand safely and the risks associated with carrying firearms and bows up to the stand.

“You never want to carry your gear up with you,” Brown said as he helped Thurber demonstrate using a pull rope to carefully lift his crossbow into his tree stand.

“Always make sure the firearm or bows are facing down,” Thurber said from the tree stand.

“And always make sure they’re unloaded.”

The trio also highlighted the importance of checking tree stand equipment and even the tree before setting up.

“Before you hang your stand, make sure you inspect the tree,” Thurber said.

“Make sure its a tree that’s alive.”



Tree stand safety wasn’t the only topic of discussion when it came to hunting hazards.

Communication is something Thurber and Brown agree is essential before hunters head out to the woods

“We recommend that you have some way to communicate,” said Thurber, who recommends two-way radios given the lack of cell service in the Adirondacks.

“If someone were to slip and fall but have no way to self rescue themselves, they have to have a way to communicate,” he said.

Thurber also recommends telling a friend or family member where their tree stand is located.

“A lot of hunters don’t like to reveal their secret spots,” Thurber said.

“But make sure someone knows where your stand is so if you have an accident someone can come find you.”

“When someone has a medical emergency in the woods and nobody knows where you are, that decreases your odds,” he said.

Brown said letting one person know where your stand is or where you plan to hunt could make all the difference if something were to happen.

Brown also offered a piece of simple advice for all hunters.

“I always park on the side of the road that I’m going in the woods,” he said.

“That way at least there's a good chance that you’ve eliminated the search area in half, if anything were to happen.”


Brown said he has noticed that a lot of hunters seem to be in a hurry to get hunting. This poses risks not often thought about.

“Don’t worry about speed,” Brown said.

“You don’t have to be quick. The quickness is in that bullet.”

“Take a little bit of time because when you pull that trigger, all the speed you need is in that bullet,” he said.

Thurber added that there’s no reason for hunters to rush and put their safety at risk.

“Most people are conscientious about the safety part.” He said.

“But some people are in a hurry and forget to hook into their safety harness or lifeline as they’re ascending or descending the tree stand, which could lead to injury.”

“We’re fortunate where we live. We live in the Adirondack Park,” he said.

“The deer are going to be here.”


Having a checklist and being prepared are key in having a safe hunting season according to Brown and Thurber.

“Be prepared for the conditions,” Thurber said.

“Be prepared if an accident occurs.

“Be prepared for the outdoors.”

This includes checking equipment beforehand, having communication with friends and family, dressing accordingly and having the proper equipment.

“Everybody wants to have fun,” Thurber said.

“It’s a great family pastime.”

“With the camaraderie with hunting and fishing with family and friends sitting around camp telling stories and playing cards, you want to be able to do that next season where if one mistake could jeopardize your next seasons,” he said.

“Make memories.”

“That's what this is all about. But do it safe,” Thurber said.

“That's the most important thing we’re stressing here today,” Jones said.

“Be safe.”

“The deer will be there.”

“You don’t have to rush.”

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