One of the most dangerous things a hunter can do is climb into a tree stand. Most whitetail hunters do it because it helps keep scent above deer and their silhouette out of their sight. In recent years, tree stands have become safer and every stand sold in America comes with a safety harness. This post from the Outdoor Hub chronicles how a hunter nearly died from a fall and should act as a warning to be extra careful.
First Time is the Worse
Since lumber is fairly inexpensive and hunters are often do-it-yourself types, many outdoors-men build their own stands for extra stability and more space in a tree. This seems logical, yet every year a tree grows taller and increases the diameter of its limbs. This natural growth will pull nails through lumber, even treated beams. Because hunters think that these stands are ultra-safe, they don’t wear a safety harness. If one nail pulls lose, you could fall from a tree and suffer death or great harm. Such events are particularly likely the first time you use a stand and you should always use a lifeline or other safety system to test the stands structure. Permanent self-made stands suffer from weather, wind, and a host of critters that love to chew wood like squirrels and porcupines.
A hunter from Illinois fell from a stand and lay on the ground for 12 hours until help finally arrived. “I could hear my cell phone vibrating, but couldn’t reach it,” he said. Luckily, he didn’t suffer from internal bleeding or he would have died.
Most modern hunting jackets have one or more vest pockets and this is an ideal place to carry your cell phone. In an emergency you can grab it easily. Here are the details of Ned Yost’s brush with death: