The Silent Killer of Hunters Blog #3

Hello and welcome back,

Another week has passed into the early stages of deer hunting season and another local story caught my attention.  When people hear about hunting accidents, they almost exclusively think about someone accidentally being shot by a hunter.  We can thank Dick Cheney for that one.  However, this is an example of one type of accident that occurs entirely too often for how easy it is to avoid.  How many times have you had to tell your children to buckle up in the car?  I know what you’re about to say.  “Too many to count.”  It’s just something about being young, I would say it’s the innocence.  They don’t realize what could happen at any given moment.

Same thing goes for hunting.  I never wore a safety harness when I hunted up until last fall.  I drove to our farm early one morning, ready to get out in the woods.  It had rained the night before and with the dew on the ground, everything was soaked.  I went out to my stand, and more carefully than i ever had before, I climbed the ladder, sat down, and waited.  It wasn’t but an hour or two after that, i heard a faint rumbling. As each minute passed the rumbling got louder and louder until the noise was too loud to ignore.  I turned backwards to see what was going on and what I saw then, is an image I doubt I’ll ever forget.  Just behind me, about a quarter mile away, a rescue helicopter was landing in our field.  My great uncle, who was 65 at the time, had slipped and fallen 20+ ft. from his stand and had to be medevaced to the hospital.

One thing that bothers me now looking back, is that up until that day. I had no idea how to even work a harness.  I actually had to have a friend show me how to work it later that day. I never remembered learning about it while taking Hunter’s Safety and my friend from last weeks interview confirmed this. I feel now that not only should every young hunter learn how to properly use a tree stand with all of its safety components but that Hunter’s Safety Course should put a severe emphasis on it.

A recent survey showed that 33% of all hunters will at some point fall from a tree stand with half of those falls happening while the hunter is actually hunting (not climbing or descending the ladder). As a stubborn teenager, it took this personal experience to make me realize how important safety harnesses are and with these outrageous numbers, I don’t see how this is even debatable.  Had my Great Uncle not thrown his weapon away from the tree as he was falling, he may not have made it to tell his story.

Last thing for this week is a helpful video that shows a good technique for all you hunters or parents of hunters who want  you or your kids to be safe this hunting season.  Feel free to leave a comment. Thanks, and I’ll see you next week.

Lane

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