Sunday, February 05, 2006
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Safety in those trees....my own story
While a student at the University of Ga. I was fortunate to receive permission to hunt a 100 acre tract of land located in Oconee county, Ga. In 1990 I killed my first "big" deer, a good 8 point off that property. The privilege to hunt this land was a great gift, and so I did hunt it a little each year while in Athens, Ga..
I graduated in 1993 and did get to hunt the place a couple of times. I did not kill a deer that year on that property, but I did see a huge buck chasing does. The next fall I again returned to hunt that deer. Here is where my love of hunting, and my total lack of good judgment changed my life. Late November found me on vacation, deer hunting, with one last weekend open to go to Athens to hunt. I and a friend arrived early in the morning and dressed outside my truck, in the rain. After dropping my buddy off to hunt, I went to the end of the property to a ladder stand that I had seen (but not tested). I found the stand and climbed up...only about 8 feet...I told myself NO problem. After sitting about an hour, the rain and wind had really picked up. I do not really know what happened next, but the tree swayed in one direction and the stand the other...and I ended up on the ground behind the tree, my rifle going barrel first into the mud.
At this point I did not know how badly I had been hurt. Of course, I knew I had great pain. After a minute of calling for my friend (he had gone back to the truck when the rain came harder), I got my nerve up and tried to move my feet, I could. Then I figured that I had to get myself out, thinking that I could have internal bleeding, or would go into shock (cold and rain not helping). I rolled over and used my Winchester as a crutch, raised myself to my knees, then standing (in agony). I made my way to the adjoining property and found some folks working with their horses. They helped me to the barn and called 911.
Turns out I had a compression fracture of I believe my L1 vertebrae (broken), :-( .
Move forward to 2006 and tell me my mistakes.
- I should not have hunted an untested, wooden, stand of any sort, especially one I did not build.
- I did not use a safety belt of any kind.....very dumb.
- I should have had a safety plan in place if one of us became injured...hospital location, phone numbers , etc.
Now a days, I can still do most anything I want, and I have not slowed down hunting all. I have learned a great lesson the hard way, and now always use a good safety rig when I climb, a Seat-O-The-Pants harness. Please use a harness of some kind....gravity is NOT your friend, I promise.
Please come back here soon. Thanks for the read.
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Related links to tree stand safety articles: