onX Maps
treestand injuries SCARY STUFF
Equipment
Contributors to this thread:
Bou’bound 23-Dec-22
Bou’bound 23-Dec-22
MA-PAdeerslayer 23-Dec-22
Basil 23-Dec-22
Rocky D 23-Dec-22
spike78 23-Dec-22
Will 23-Dec-22
stringgunner 23-Dec-22
Bou’bound 23-Dec-22
goyt 23-Dec-22
Aftermerle 23-Dec-22
spike78 23-Dec-22
Bowhunter09 23-Dec-22
spike78 23-Dec-22
sticksender 23-Dec-22
TODDY 23-Dec-22
8point 23-Dec-22
thedude 23-Dec-22
WV Mountaineer 23-Dec-22
Lawdog 23-Dec-22
Candor 23-Dec-22
Bou'bound 23-Dec-22
Dale06 23-Dec-22
Quinn @work 24-Dec-22
Corax_latrans 24-Dec-22
Al Dente Laptop 24-Dec-22
Steve Leffler 24-Dec-22
rooster 24-Dec-22
In2dmtns 24-Dec-22
LBshooter 24-Dec-22
spike78 24-Dec-22
SaddleReaper 24-Dec-22
Meat Grinder 24-Dec-22
TGbow 24-Dec-22
Lordvilleleg 24-Dec-22
Inshart 24-Dec-22
Groundhunter 24-Dec-22
sticksender 24-Dec-22
Zim 24-Dec-22
Groundhunter 24-Dec-22
spike78 24-Dec-22
Corax_latrans 24-Dec-22
Basil 24-Dec-22
drycreek 24-Dec-22
DConcrete 25-Dec-22
TonyBear 25-Dec-22
TGbow 25-Dec-22
spike78 25-Dec-22
Corax_latrans 25-Dec-22
Basil 25-Dec-22
Groundhunter 25-Dec-22
Aubs8 25-Dec-22
Basil 25-Dec-22
From: Bou’bound
23-Dec-22

Bou’bound's Link
JUST ONE state and one year, but a grim reminder.

From: Bou’bound
23-Dec-22
he following is a summary of the 13 accidents in the DEC’s report:

09/4 -Livingston County. No harness. Hang-on stand. Ratchet strap broke while setting up stand for the season. Victim sustained lower back injury. Age 65. Hunting experience: 45 yrs.

10/2 -Rensselaer County. No harness. Climbing tree stand. Strap on the tree stand broke when victim attempted to shoot a deer. Victim broke his femur, back and ribs. Age 60. Hunting experience: 40 yrs.

10/4 - Erie County. Harness. Climbing tree stand. Tree cable released due to a faulty safety latch and safety harness failed, dropping victim 15 feet. Victim sustained several internal injuries, required a life flight, and was put into a medically induced coma to recover. Age 46. Hunting experience: 25 yrs.

10/13 - Oneida County. No harness. Climbing tree stand. Platform strap broke, equipment was in poor shape. Victim broke his pelvis and ribs. Age 54. Hunting experience: unknown.

11/13 - Orleans County. No harness. Ladder stand. Fell while removing the stand. No injuries. Age 73. Hunting experience: 60 yrs.

11/15 - Orleans County. No harness. Ladder stand. Victim was attempting to remove stand and the stand fell with him in it when he released the ratchet strap. Victim broke his collar bone and knee. Age 75. Hunting experience: 20 yrs.

11/19 - Wayne County. No harness. Hang-on stand. Victim fell while installing screw in steps and broke his ankle. Age 43. Hunting experience: 30 years.

11/21 - Cattaraugus County. No harness. Ladder stand. Victim fell asleep and fell out of stand, breaking a rib and puncturing a lung. Age 65. Hunting experience: 47 years.

11/23 – Cayuga County. No harness. Ladder stand. Tree stand strap broke while victim was ascending. Victim dislocated his hip. Age 50. Hunting experience: 39 years.

11/24 - Orange County. Fatal. No harness. Ladder stand. Victim fell 14 feet while descending and landed on his head, breaking his neck and several vertebrate. Age 50. Hunting experience: 37 years.

11/27 – Genessee County. No harness. Ladder stand. Victim fell after unstrapping the stand in order to relocate it. Victim sustained a laceration to his thumb. Age 30. Hunting experience: 15 years.

12/4 – Wayne. Harness. Climbing tree stand. Victim fell while descending, injuring his ankle. Harness was not attached to the tree. Age 33. Hunting experience: 20 years.

12/12 – Hamilton County. No harness. Ladder stand. Victim fell out of the stand while taking it down, injuring his back. Age 60. Hunting experience: 50 years.

For more, on trees accidents during the 2020 hunting season, see the DEC’s website.

DEC began tracking tree stand accidents in 2017.

Tree stand safety has become a regular part of the hunter education course required of first-time hunters in New York.

“Elevated hunting incidents are becoming a major cause of hunting-related injuries. The proper use of elevated stands, and tree stand safety equipment, will help to prevent these injuries and fatalities,” DEC said.

23-Dec-22
Ouch. Gotta be safe and always tied off going up and down. I’m guilty sometimes and my kids always remind me because I drill into them how important safety is when we’re in the woods.

From: Basil
23-Dec-22
Nothing to mess with. Last 2 years hanging stands has been a struggle for me. Even using a linesman belt it’s been exhausting. Once stands are hung I install a rope so I’m attached top to bottom. Even so still tiring to ascend. Couple years of health problems have really slowed me down. Had been a hang and hunt guy every set for 40 years. If things don’t improve looks like my options will be climber, ladder stands or ground blinds. I can’t see quitting quite yet. I can’t believe how lucky the average hunter has been. Safety gear was unheard of years ago. Safety gear is so readily available it’s tough to read the above statistics on average age, experience & no gear.

From: Rocky D
23-Dec-22
Bou, always a good reminder of the dangers that we face.

I have given probably a dozen of harnesses to friends and family when I found out that they didn’t use one.

Sadly, many have returned to their old habits. Two have fallen with one breaking his arm and luckily the only got the wind knocked out of himself.

From: spike78
23-Dec-22
Accident in CT yesterday I read.

From: Will
23-Dec-22
Ugh, buckle into the tree - ground to elevation and back. Scary stuff!

From: stringgunner
23-Dec-22
Interesting that in nearly all the cases above, it was noted “no harness.”

From: Bou’bound
23-Dec-22
11 of 13 reported 8n the article were no harness incidents

From: goyt
23-Dec-22
I was surprised by the age of most of the victims! Also by how many were with ladder stands. I have always felt more comfortable installing a hang-on but that is what I have experience with.

From: Aftermerle
23-Dec-22
I had preached "Wear a harness there is no reason not to" for years. My friends tired of hearing it. In Nov 2015 I walked away from my truck, got a 100 yrds down the trail and realized I had not donned my harness. I retraced my steps and put it on. Turned out of all days, that was the day I would need it most. However, 15 minutes later I was lying on the ground, in pain. Even though I had put the harness on, for some reason unknown to me. I failed to secure it to the tree. I knew my mistake immediately, as I was falling head over backwards. No doubt injuries would occur, maybe paralyses, maybe even death. "Help me Jesus", I cried out. He did, for my injuries could have and should have been much, much worse. Although it ended my season, because of a broken ankle and 4 busted ribs, and more trauma to my 58 yr old body than I can explain. Suffice it to say every muscle in my body screamed at me for months afterwards. Wear a harness every time, and by all means secure it to the tree. If not for the Love of an amazing God, I wouldn't be hear to tell this tale.

From: spike78
23-Dec-22
Accident in CT yesterday I read.

From: Bowhunter09
23-Dec-22
I was also surprised that so many were ladder stands. I have safety lines on some of mine, but need to add to all them

From: spike78
23-Dec-22
Never really used a ladder always thought you guys were nuts ratcheting it AFTER you climb up lol.

From: sticksender
23-Dec-22
Here locally we just had a hunter die this week while hunting on state land...fell from his tree, reportedly not wearing a harness. He was 57 years old. Sad deal....but even sadder to think it might have been preventable with the right safety equipment.

Hunter dies in fall from tree stand in Morgan-Monroe State Forest

From: TODDY
23-Dec-22
Use a Tree Saddle. Always attached to tree from the time you leave the ground. TODDY

From: 8point
23-Dec-22
Usually hang stands at 20ft. Went from none, to a rope around my waist, to a nylon strap around my chest to my present day harness. Had 2 stand failures in the past 5 years, my harness saved me both times. I wouldn't get into a tree without it.

From: thedude
23-Dec-22
Drive around and look how many roofers are tied off..... people are stupid and it ain't gonna change

23-Dec-22
Toddy for the win.

From: Lawdog
23-Dec-22
These accidents are bad, and the statistics are real. Some of you may have read my story. Thanksgiving 2016 I fell 25"-30" feet when the 4000 lbs ratchet strap holding the hang on stand broke as I was getting into the stand. I was reaching to hook up my harness with one foot on the stand and the other on the ladder. I broke a lot of bones and suffered serious internal injuries, had 6 surgeries, spent 3 1/2 months in hospitals and inpatient rehabs, and spent 5 grueling additional years of self-imposed rehab. With God's grace I fully recovered. I'm one of the lucky ones. I kept one 10' ladder stand, and I look like a poster child for OSHA while using it. Stay safe out there.

From: Candor
23-Dec-22
I wish I was better at using my harness when ascending or descending with my climber. I try to make myself but end up cutting corners.

From: Bou'bound
23-Dec-22
Thanks for your candor

From: Dale06
23-Dec-22
It’s not very complicated.

From: Quinn @work
24-Dec-22
Thanks for the reminder Bou. I can't believe the frequency of accidents in that log you posted. Knew it was bad but that is alarming. Most of them were older guys that probably grew up using nothing and never adapted.

Sent your injury log to a buddy who still won't wear a harness. Absolute insanity!

24-Dec-22
“Safety gear is so readily available it’s tough to read the above statistics on average age, experience & no gear.”

Pretty good bet that “in their experience”, they’d never needed it before….

24-Dec-22
Being from NY, I am fully aware of those awful statistics. Sadly, the NYS DEC implemented online Sportsmen Education during the scamdemic, and thousands took the courses, but there was no in-person requirement at all, only "logged in hours". Treestand safety, among other skills, cannot be taught from a monitor, we would spend a considerable amount of time on it in the class room, and stress the importance of using safety gear. We would demonstrate all aspects of it from proper fit, to even mimicking a fall. Full body harness always, no waist belt, if you fall, you will be upside down, or it will slide up under your arms. Get attached while on the ground. And while we're at it, NEVER, EVER haul up a loaded rifle or crossbow. They have discharged and killed the hunter hauling them up. C'mon guys, why take a chance of getting severely injured, paralyzed, or dying? Stupid hurts, and then some!!!!

24-Dec-22
Interesting data. I am surprised by how many people fell from ladders which are perceived as “safer”. Until this year I didnt have a good solution for my climber. I use it less than I used to but still 8-10 sits a year. To be honest I just didn't use my harness going up or down the tree because it was a pain. As I have gotten older and maybe smarter that bothered me. Here is the solution I bought this year and its a game changer. Works awesome. Easy to use. Take a look if you use a climber. I bought a second one for my son. https://www.blindedhunting.com/qsafe

From: rooster
24-Dec-22
So, does a tree saddle automatically attach itself to the tree? Not unless the user attaches it. I understand the point, but Just like any other climbing method or tree stand design, it's up to the individual to use some type of fall restraint system while climbing and descending. I personally use hang on stands and a lineman's rope while climbing to hang my stand and put a lifeline up and clip into it before stepping on. There will always be accidents that occur even when all of the safety protocol and equipment is properly used. But I have to believe the odds of that happening will lessen.

From: In2dmtns
24-Dec-22
I for one will admit I am sorely lacking in the safety department. But I am gonna make a better effort, I mainly hunt out of tree saddles. Pretty much use a fixed ladder to go up and down but some stands I have to climb a few feet using screw in steps and limbs. What would be your recommendation on ascending and descending line?

From: LBshooter
24-Dec-22
Use to argue with a hunting buddy every year before,during and after hunting season about safety belts. 2012 season started out as every year, arguing about wearing a safety rig. We argued just like the previous seasons, before, during and after never happened. He was hunting and moved to grab an arrow and the stand shifted, sent him down to the ground. However before he hit the ground he snapped pine bows with the back of his head, crushed his skull and broken his neck, dead before he hit the ground. That was Friday morning at 5/6 am. Sunday night at 5pm is when he was found at the base of his tree and at 7 pm his wife and two little girls were at home and got a knock on the door. Local police telling her that her was dead do to a hunting accident. Something so very simple and easy to secure oneself in a tree and yet so many refuse to wear one, what a shame. I'm of the opinion it's ego that makes someone think they don't need to be secured to the tree, unbelievable, makes no sense.

From: spike78
24-Dec-22
One safety tip not mentioned is all the hang on stands I ever bought I made sure they had the T screw that secures the bottom to the tree and takes away the platform kicking out factor. Also if the strap breaks that T screw may just save you. Another good point is you raise the stand up put it on the t screw and allows two free hands to cinch down the strap.

From: SaddleReaper
24-Dec-22
That I'm aware of or have heard of so far, there have been 2 falling deaths in NY this year. One my aunt knew - he was probably 60s and the other made news was a guy in his 30s.

I actually have a hard time believing ego has much to do with not wearing a harness or following safe practices. I'd think it has way more to do with perceived "inconvenience" of mobility while climbing and once on stand. It also takes a marginal amount of extra time going through the motions of climbing attached etc. Admittedly, I am guilty of free climbing on occasion; generally depending on the tree, height, or climbing difficulty - as dumb as that is/sounds.

From: Meat Grinder
24-Dec-22
The various safety products range in price from about $30 (safety rope) to $135 (Treestand Wingman), with harnesses, linesman's belts, Treestand Monkey, etc. generally falling somewhere in between.

Anyone who's reluctant to use these items. or those of us tempted to cut corners, need to ask themselves one question--If I'm laying at the base of my tree with a broken leg or broken back, facing months of rehab and/or permanent disability (or worse), would I pay $30-135 to undo the damage? The answer is obvious.

From: TGbow
24-Dec-22
I'm no expert on treestands. I know wearing a linemans belt you could still fall but more than likely you wouldn't hit the ground? I guess anything can fail at any time but most of the reports I read about treestand falls, would have been prevented having been tied in the whole time whether using a climber or hang on.

24-Dec-22

Lordvilleleg 's embedded Photo
Lordvilleleg 's embedded Photo
Broke my femur and hip. Top strap on climbing stick broke. Fell 23’. Fortunate to still be able to walk and hunt.

From: Inshart
24-Dec-22
Setting in my stand this year and heard squads then ambulances go past my place - few minutes later the "Air Care" flew over and circled a few minutes then landed - little later it flew over me enroute to the hospital.

Later that night, I called my friend a few miles in that direction, he said just down the road from him a guy fell getting into his tri-pod stand. Couple days later my friend called me - said the guy passed away from internal injuries.

Again, experienced hunter in mid 50's.

From: Groundhunter
24-Dec-22
I like many has used everything. Cheap climbing sticks are as bad as the old Baker climber.

The best safest stand has been the Summit climber. With third hand stabilizer straps, and a full harness as I go up, the confidence level is high.

Ladder stands are ok, but they are not for a mobile hunter. I have seen alot of accidents etc, putting them up wrong.

On our land we got rid of all of them. For the real permanent spots, built SOLID 6 by 5 blinds, set 8 feet up, and guide cable secured

From: sticksender
24-Dec-22
For those who mention the difficulty of staying attached by harness to the tree while using a climber. I don't think it costs me more than an extra minute or two for the whole ascent, by keeping my lanyard attached to the tree while I climb. I use a heavy rope lanyard and just keep flipping it up another couple of feet at a time as I go. Once you're well-practiced at it, it's really no problem at all.

From: Zim
24-Dec-22
I sold all my hang on stands and have been exclusively using LW climbers for the last 15 years. It’s pretty easy for me to stay attached to the tree at all times. I’m a safety first hunter, and just quit using trees with limbs that obstruct climbing. I have no problem finding suitable trees. When I used hang ons with stix I often found myself cheating unhooking safety rope to maneuver around limbs. I never do that any more.

From: Groundhunter
24-Dec-22
Zim that's a great point.

From: spike78
24-Dec-22
Look into the Primal Descender if you fall it lowers you to the ground. $50 cheap insurance

24-Dec-22
“Safety gear is so readily available it’s tough to read the above statistics on average age, experience & no gear.”

Pretty good bet that “in their experience”, they’d never needed it before….

From: Basil
24-Dec-22
In the link from the OP it mentions “years of hunting experience.” I’d argue that they needed it all along. One split second merely proved it.

From: drycreek
24-Dec-22
I have never used a lock on in my life, too big and clumsy for them. I did use a climber long ago but was never comfortable in it. I migrated to two man ladders and stopped using them about age 65. I’ve used more tripods than anything but at my age now I won’t even use them. I finally stayed on my son’s ass about safety until he started using a harness but don’t think he used a lifeline. He’s finally stopped using lock ons and started using tripods. Makes me not worry so much.

From: DConcrete
25-Dec-22
Isn’t it how cityhunter died?

From: TonyBear
25-Dec-22
Sincerely Sympathy for the killed, injured and their families. I used to hunt with a guy who fell out of his stand twice and ended up with serious injuries. He became very religious about hunting with fall protection after that. Unfortunately, he was involved with a "recovery" of a fellow hunter at a hunt he helped coordinate. The deceased was wearing a safety chest harness but had picked a tree that curved outwards and it created a sad situation when he tried to climb out of the harness while hanging instead of being able to get help.

I have also hunted with someone who fell asleep and out of his stand within sight of me. Had a full harness. Woke up after he hit a few limbs and hung there to regain his senses. Climbed back up and hunted the rest of the morning. I almost had an involuntary testicle ectomy on the same trip when a strap-in step came loose and shifted. My harness and linemans rope saved me but damn that hurt.

Just a few years ago I had a screw-in step break off while removing a stand. I wasn't able to reach the next step or pull myself up. However, I keep a few extra in my waist pack/muffler and put one in the tree getting me out of the situation. Lineman's belt kept me in the tree until I could do so.

I have had a strap on stick shift once too. Almost sent me to the ground as well. Lineman's belt saved me. (I use two of them while climbing).

These days I mostly use leg irons with dual lineman's belt/rope (3-5000 # capacity), clipped in from the time I leave the ground until I return, no excuses. Thinking of going to saddle or just staying on the ground due to bad knees, old arm injuries,et. al.

I do think about the close calls and thank God my family is not sharing the Holidays and my birthday without me. What I miss is the opportunity to go over all of this during the bowhunter education field days we used to set up every spring and summer. It's all on line now and it does a disservice to the new generation of bowhunters hunting out of tree stands.

Be careful in 2023 folks..

From: TGbow
25-Dec-22
I agree with the above post, a climber using the tree rope from ground up and back down is probably the most safe. I've hunted on the ground most my life but I did use the old Baker stands back in the 70s some..no harness..nothin. Slid about 6 dt or so once down a pine tree with the Baker..hugging the tree. I was skinned up but stopped before I hit the ground. Drove for a living for 22 years and I would say most folks don't realize the potential danger of just being on the highway. Best you can do is be cautious as you can and pay attention to what's going on. Stay safe everyone

From: spike78
25-Dec-22
TG not necessarily if your climber breaks or falls and you are hanging there then that is just as deadly as falling. Hopefully the descender I bought solves that problem.

25-Dec-22
FWIW….

With a climber, I just clip into a loop of 2” webbing slip-knotted around the tree. Raise the webbing as high as I can; raise foot platform; raise webbing; raise upper unit; raise lower; raise webbing; repeat.

Once I had kids, I decided it was worth the extra 5-10 seconds to add the step of re-securing the webbing every time I raised the lower unit.

The thought of lying there, thinking about my wife and sons as I lay dying BECAUSE I WAS STUPID was more than my self-confidence could ignore. That’s how I talked myself into carrying the phone in the woods.

From: Basil
25-Dec-22
Yes Corax having kids changes the way you look at things. Finally began setting up all the stands the right way when my daughter started hunting. Was lucky all those years. As you age you lose strength , agility & reflexes slow way down. Being safe & secure is extending my years of elevated hunting.

From: Groundhunter
25-Dec-22
The defender is great for a permanent stand. But in reality who hunts like that. I move alot.

Screw in steps. You have to have a screw.loose to use them. I had an EZ folder fail on me and others break off. No way after that.

From: Aubs8
25-Dec-22
I'm embarrassed to say I fell 16 feet straight down last October ('21) when a strap to a hang-on broke....fortunately, I got away with tearing every ligament in right ankle.

Very lucky.

Take care. Mike

From: Basil
25-Dec-22
I use EzE folders almost exclusively. Nothing screws in easier. Thick barked trees like old cotton woods you have to make sure the screw is in solid wood not just bark. Only knock on them is the screw is a bit short. Deer me style steps are the only ones that have failed on me. Had 2 break where the footstep bends 90 degrees. I only use them for gear hangers these days. Use 3 points of contact when climbing. Always was able to recover when a step moved. Not sure I could catch myself these days. Now days I’m always connected ground to platform.

  • Sitka Gear