Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting

IN: Two hunters injured in falls

Two ECI hunters injured after falls from tree stands
The accidents happened within five days in Jay and Blackford counties.

November 18, 2010

MONTPELIER -- Two East Central Indiana deer hunters were injured recently
when they fell from their tree stands.

Indiana Conservation Officer Josh Kilgore said the falls represent why
hunters should wear body harnesses when they are hunting from tree stands,
perched 10-30 feet above ground.

"We do find a lot of people that wear them," Kilgore said. "But I'd like to
see every person wear them."

Falls are the most common hunting injury, according to a study published
this month in The American Surgeon. The study, authored by Charles Cook, a
trauma surgeon at the Ohio State University, found that falls represent half
of hunting accidents and that 92 percent of those falls are from tree

Furthermore, falls are often serious. About 80 percent of those who fall
require surgery, Cook found.

Gunshot wounds represent only 29 percent of injuries and, despite old
misconceptions, alcohol is almost never involved in the accidents.

Casey Crull, 20, Upland, was fortunate in that he only suffered a mild
concussion when he fell 15 feet from a homemade stand on private property in
northeastern Blackford County, according to Kilgore, who investigated the

The accident happened around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. Crull's hunting partner
drove him into Montpelier to meet up with medics.

"He wanted to get checked out for precautionary matters," Kilgore said.

Crull, who was hunting with a shotgun, was trying to get down from the stand
when he fell, Kilgore said. Crull was not wearing a harness.

Since 2004, store-bought hunting stands have come with harnesses, which
attach to the tree and prevent hunters from falling off the platform. Many
hunters, however, do not wear the harnesses.
Avery Coleman, 65, Montpelier, was not as fortunate as Crull.

According to Jay County authorities, Coleman was hunting near Pennville when
he fell from his tree stand around 7:22 a.m. Friday. He was flown from the
scene by helicopter, likely to a Fort Wayne hospital.

Kilgore did not personally investigate the Coleman accident and further
information was not immediately available.

Conservation officers investigate every hunting accident in Indiana for
statistical purposes and in case the accidents result in any type of lawsuit
against a manufacturer or other party, Kilgore said.

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