Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting

AR: Use of proper safety harness when deer hunting in stands

Use of proper safety harness when deer hunting in stands

04 December 2010

The deer hunter’s cell phone rang, and the brief message was a dreaded one. “I need help.”

Cell phones have become imbedded in Arkansas deer hunting as much as jabber about “seeing sign, “when the rut really kicks in” and “they won’t come out until that full moon is gone.” Countless are the text messages on deer hunters’ cell phones that simply ask, “Seen anything”?

In the recent incident with the call of “I need help,” the cell phone was a valuable tool. It led quickly to a gathering of the half-dozen hunters in the party going to the aid of one who had fallen from a tree stand.

He had just shot and downed a deer. He began climbing down the stand on its metal ladder, but a foot missed a step, and as 10-foot fall resulted. Back and knee injuries resulted.

Joe Huggins is the hunter education coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. He handles the statistic on hunting accidents in the state.

Huggins said, “At least half of the accidents reported to us are falls from stands. Most of these falls happen when people are climbing in or out of their stands.”


“A fall from a tree stand can be caused by a number of things,” Huggins said. “The recoil from a gun can knock a hunter off balance. The hunter can fall asleep, and sometimes this may involve alcohol or medication. The stand can be dilapidated and give way, or something can come loose like a rung on a ladder when the hunter is going up or down.”.

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