OH: Hunter's tree-stand fall highlights common risk
October 31, 2010
Hunter's tree-stand fall highlights common risk
A McConnelsville farmer was at home with his 10-year-old daughter
recently when he headed out to check the tree stands he uses when hunting
In particular, Ron Horn wanted to look over a 20-foot-high free-standing
platform that he'd built and recently moved, to make sure it was in good
order before his six sons set out with their bows to hunt in rural Morgan
When he got there, a rope he uses to lift his bow or rifle into the stand
was missing. At the top of the stand, he discovered that his safety harness
also was gone.
Horn, who is 64, began to climb down an hour later. As he threw his bow
over one shoulder, his hand slipped against the stand's rain-slick wood and
he fell to the ground. He broke his spine and seven ribs and shattered his
femur at the hip. Falls from tree stands are the most-common cause of Ohio
hunters' injuries. The risk was long recognized by hunting-safety experts
but recently was documented in a study of the 130 hunters treated at Ohio
State University and Grant medical centers between 1998 and 2007.
"I think the traditional belief about hunting-related injuries is you get
shot by a hunting buddy or your own weapon accidentally discharges," said
Dr. Charles Cook, the OSU trauma surgeon who led the study.
The study found that half of injuries were from falls, and 29 percent
were from gunshots. Falls from tree stands often resulted in spinal
fractures or fractures in the lower body. Alcohol was involved in less than
3percent of falls, and drugs in less than 5 percent.
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