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Another Treestand Accident
My brother in a turtle shell from yesterday
My brother in a turtle shell from yesterday
Some of you might remember when I posted 2 years and 11 months ago that my Dad fell from a treestand, not wearing a safety harness, and died. Well, it has happened again - thankfully with less tragic consequences. Yesterday my brother was moving a treestand and was coming down the tree when he fell from about 18 feet up. Again, no harness (in this case no ground to stand safety line either). He landed on the flat of his back on wet ground. The good Lord was watching out for him. He has multiple broken vertebrae in his back and is in intensive care - but has movement in all limbs.
Everyone, this is two out of the four of us in my family that have had serious accidents from not following the strictest treestand safety. We have, between the four of us, over 100 years of treestand hunting. Here is the reality, that means that 1 time out of every 50 years an accident happens. Doesn't sound like a terrible risk when you climb hundreds of trees. But if you hunt for 50 years, that means that at some point the odds are likely to catch up to you. By clipping in at the bottom and never unclipping until you are at the top, you can save you and your family a lot of grief. Be safe out there guys. Your family needs you to come home more than you need that big buck.
Wow....glad it wasn't worse! Prayers
A simple gravity check (drop a pen, pencil, quarter) and it confirms one can be injured while using tree stands without fall protection-period.
Prayers for a quick recovery and spread the word about the hazard.
You are right about the odds catching up with us! Thank goodness it was not worse! C
A good case for using ladder stands. 20 feet is too high for me in any stand.
Prayers sent and so glad it wasn't worse.
couldnt pay me to use a ladder stand, dont like 'em, they are for old fat guys ;0) .... and I aint there yet... I hang and hunt same day using my LW and sticks, sometimes twice a day depending on what the wind does......I do use a linemans belt going up and down......as soon as I get in the tree, I get tethered up with the harness to the tree.... BTW, I do know what its like to fall (20 ft, broke left ankle & two vertebra), mine was in 1996...... before I learned the importance of a linemans belt when going up and down hanging sticks.... even guys using climbers NEED TO USE a harness/rope/strap going up and down the tree
Incredible timing. We are doing a treestand safety feature this weekend.
Glad your brother is going to recover.
As far as ladder stands go....... Ladder stands do not eliminate the risk. Ive a friend that slipped once at the top of a 16 foot ladder stand, then falling straight down he landed on his feet on the ground. He compressed several vertebra and could not walk out. He still suffers from it 12 years later. A life line would have prevented the back injury.
Ladders, tripods, hang ons, and climbers all deserve to be treated as dangerous because all can be. I'm personally down to tripods, the least dangerous IMO, because I'm both old and fat !:-)
BTW ... I meant clip in at the bottom and don't unclip till you are back down again. Figures you all knew what I meant but am OCD so I had to correct it. Lol
I would like to see statistics of fall rates by type of treestand. I would guess hang-ons are leading that pack by a good amount. I know I don't feel comfortable hanging and climbing them.
Regardless, proper safety protocols mitgate all risk. Prayers sent for a speedy recovery.
Had a friend, die from complications, falling out of a ladder stand two months ago.
I'll pray your brother recovers quickly
The only time I ever got close to getting hurt was trying to strap on a stand. Now use only ladders.
I have given away probably 10 safety harnesses to peeps who did use one. Mostly friends and family. Glad it was not worse.
Hate to hear this. Hopefully your brother will have a full recovery.
And I don't use stands of any kind. Too dangerous in the long run.
Prayers for a quick recovery.
Wow, thankful it wasn't worse. Prayers for a speedy recovery! Kevin
Hope your brother makes a full recovery. Thanks for posting since this could save some ones life. I make sure I always use a lifeline or a climbing belt going up and then my safety harness strap when getting into the stand as I unclip the climbing belt. That way I am always attached to the tree. I don't ever deviate, ever!
Curious if your brother has used safety devices normally since your/his father died? Did he just get lax this time?
Every October 7 th I think of my hunting buddy who I used to argue with all the time about wearing a safety harness, I was pro and he was against wearing one. October 7 th he fell out of his tree, a pine tree, and snapped branches with his head and neck all the way down. Because he was hunting alone he laid dead at the bottom of his tree from 5 am Saturday til 7 pm Sunday night. By 830 pm Sunday the cops were knocking at his door to tell his wife and two small children that he would not be coming home ever. How many times does someone have to die or be injured serverly before guys who climb wear a safety harness? I am so tried and angry at this whole situation that now I have no sympathy for the idiots who fail to protect themselves but more importantly their loved ones who depend on them for survival. How selfish is it to neglect to wear a simple harness that will safe your life!! Thumbs up in a hospital bed smiling is absurd, stupid and just down right retarded. You should have a frown on your face for being so stupid, my god. As I use to tell my buddy, it doesn't make you any less of a hunter/man to wear a safety harness, but he would always go up without and he and his family paid the ultimate price. It's at the point where the stories are out,and every Hunter knows of or has read about guys dropping out of trees and still ignore the hazard. I'm at the point when I read or hear about another guy who fails to protect themselves with a harness got what they prepared for. For all of you guys who climb without a harness it's just a matter of when and you won't have the choice of dieing or being paralyzed or if your really lucky maybe just a couple of broken legs, back or vertebrae and then you can post a pic smiling with thumbs up too. I certainly hope the guy in the pic makes a full recovery but certainly he will never be the same and had he just wore a simple harness he wold have walked away with a few bruises.
LB Shooter many of us understand your pain. I am a safety consultant for a living. One of the most frustrating things I do is train folks on a myriad of safety issues and often feel I am not getting through to a few of them. All we can do is our best to make folks aware of the issue, offer advice, emplore them to listen, but it doesn't always work. I always start my presentations with .."who ultimately is in charge of your safety?? You are!"" Please make an informed decision to make your risk window as small as possible.
Again I hope for speedy recovery please help spread the word about this hazard "yes, I still have relatives and friends who don't use fall protection" I can't force them to do so, but don't need to hunt with them either.
Thanks for sharing. I bet your family was relieved as well as pretty pissed off at him. May God help us all to slow down and place safety before convenience.
I started hunting from trees in 1992 and still have bad dreams about some of the close calls I had when starting out. When I switched to climbing sticks and fixed stands only, I still found myself cheating when navigating around branches. Finally tried a LW climber about 10 years ago and never looked back. I'm attached at all times, period. If a tree is not straight enough for me to use my climber I don't hunt it. I don't care if it limits me. Safety is the priority. This has resulted in me enjoying my time in the woods much more. Of course anything can happen, but I feel I have done the absolute best I could to minimize risk while hunting from elevations.
I used to hunt when a tree stand was some 2x4s nailed to the trunk and a couple of 1x6s nailed to a branch to sit on. Please, it is so easy to cut your risk of death when using a tree stand to virtually zero. Sure, the tree can fall over or get hit by lightning or you can have the wrong harness so hang if fall. Mostly, you will survive to hunt another day. Be safe, not lazy and not full of bravado since bravado does not feed orphans and widows.
Prayers for a speedy and full recovery. Hopefully he won't need any surgery as that will speed up recovery time. I know how he feels having crushed a vertebra 12 weeks ago, though not while out hunting. Main thing is he has feeling in his limbs. I was thrilled to look down and wiggle my toes! Be thankful that it wasn't any worse. A hard lesson to learn.
Amoebus. Yes, since my dad died from a fall from a treestand, he always wears a harness while "on stand." This fall was as he came down, which is why it is critical to have ground to stand safety lines in use, and linemen's belts at all other times.
A quick update on my brother's condition. In what I can say is nothing other than a miracle and the grace of Almighty God, my brother will get released from the hospital today, two days after the fall. 2 broken vertebrae and several "chipped" vertebrae, but nothing crushed. No surgery. No paralysis. Alive. He is in a turtle shell and using a walker. 6-8 weeks of recovery.
He is so fortunate. He landed flat on his back in soft wet ground. All other scenarios, even by a bit, would have made this much worse. Had he landed in more of a sitting position, or on his head, or if the ground had been harder, or if he didn't have his phone on him, or if he had landed flat on his back - but on the tree root that he just missed.... You get the idea. Having lost my dad and now just getting a miracle with my brother has really shaken me. It won't make me quit hunting, but safety is way more important to me than the next deer I might shoot. Also am going to prioritize hunting with a buddy, having communication always available as some other important safety precautions.
BTW, thank you for all the prayers. I am a believer in Christ, and while I know God doesn't always say yes or give us what we want, I believe He does answer prayer according to his will. I am grateful for both His grace that said "yes" this time and for your prayers. They were much appreciated.
Awesome post Snellpastor!
We have a guy on our lease who lost his cousin a few years back from falling from a tree. Had celebrated his first or second anniversary. He had a 2 or 3 month child.
His story made national news because he was a quad on a ventilator and was asked if he wanted to live his life like that or be taken off the ventilator. He said there was no way in he'll he wanted to live like that and died about 12 hours later.
We now have a strict rule your tied to a rope going up and down and while in the tree. If you don't like that rule then the lease is not for you!
My dad found a safety line by (Hunters specialties) I believe? It is very cool it has a reflective strip woven into it. Makes for finding your stand in the dark awesome!
Very happy that your brother made it out so lucky. :)
Prayers sent to all of you.
Hope for a speedy recovery. Prayers sent.
First of all, I am pleased for the OP and family that his brother was not another fatality or fully paralyzed in his recent fall. Both are options that could have easily happened. I completely agree that the grace of God spared him from far more serious consequences. Hopefully there will not be a repeat in the future due to better planning and consciousness for safety.
With 40 years of bowhunting under my belt and significant time in elevated stands of all types, I ALWAYS use a fall restraint......especially when setting up a platform and sticks. However the rising popularity of "life line" setups has been an safety aspect that I have shrugged off as inconvenient......but that is slowly changing. One of my hunting buddies bought one and I looked it over on my last visit to his home. The more I consider it, the fact that getting on and off the platform, plus climbing with bulky boots in wet or snowy conditions has all the makings of a slip at some point in time. This thread has me looking for a 3 pack with the resolve to use them this fall. Thanks OP.....and God bless.
Come on guys, ladderstands aren't perfect either. A good friend, super-safe guy, fell from one. He was wearing a harness, and had the lifeline, but the fall came in the second or two when he was in between them. Broken arm was his worst injury.
If he fell using a lifeline than he was using it wrong. You should clip in when his feet was on the ground and not have to clip out until he is back on the ground.
There is no excuse not to be attached to the tree at all times. When I use my wedgelock stand I go up the tree with my linesmans belt and then when I come to a branch I take my harness rope and attach it above the branch and then unclip my linesman belt and climb above the branch and then clip in. Same thing for getting in the stand, no matter what I'm attached to the tree.
Prayers and best wishes for a speedy recovery.
Just so preventable prayers sent Lewis
Sending up prayers for your brother from Manhattan, KS. I remember very well your post about your dad.
Thanks Scott. Went to school in Manhattan! Good place to be!
Yes, I bought those Brunton binos from you 10 years ago and we had a good conversation on the phone. Take care.
Just a suggestion - if you are not that agile, switch over to ladder stands. More outfitters are using them too for safety reasons.