Deer season opens in Accomack and Northampton Counties Saturday. The season will run until January 5. Deer hunters will be out in force throughout the 50 day season. Hunters are urged to observe safety rules at all times and residents are urged to be aware of hunters and use caution when out in the woods and fields during this time.

While Accomack County allows hunting with dogs, Northampton does not.

One danger during deer season is the use of tree stands. In October a bow hunter from New Jersey was seriously injured when he fell asleep and fell to the ground from his deer stand in Savage Neck.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has issued the following guidelines concerning tree stand safety.

Tree Stand Safety Guidelines

  • Use a full-body safety harness to secure yourself to the tree. Stay attached whenever you are off the ground. Minimize slack in the tether so that if you fall, it will not be very far. This reduces the risk of injury and may allow you to climb back into your stand. Hanging in a harness for a long time may cause irreversible injury or death. Have a plan for self-rescue.
  • Never climb with equipment; use a haul line to get your unloaded gun or bow into and out of the tree stand. Crossbows may be raised while cocked, but should never be loaded with an arrow until you are securely in the stand and ready to hunt. It can be dangerous to try to cock a crossbow while in a tree.
  • Keep manufactured tree stands in good working condition. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • Many falls occur because of the failure of homemade stands, especially as they age. It is best to avoid them.
  • While most manufactured tree stands are safe if used properly, they are occasionally found to be defective and recalled. To find out if your stand has been recalled, check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website.