Two recent studies have confirmed what most deer hunters already know: treestand accidents are the leading cause of hunting injuries.
From this story in USA Today:
A_s deer hunting season gets underway around the country, trauma surgeons in Ohio have a message for hunters: It’s not the guns but the trees that will get you. A 10-year survey of hunting-related injuries at two major trauma centers in Ohio found that falling out of trees is how the majority of deer hunters are injured. “More and more frequently, we’re seeing people showing up in our emergency rooms that weren’t shot but who fell out of tree stands,” says Charles Cook, a trauma surgeon at the Ohio State University Medical Center and author of the study, which is in this month’s edition of The American Surgeon, a medical journal. Tree stands are platforms that allow hunters to perch between 10 and 30 feet above the ground and wait, out of sight, for game to come by. They’re mostly used in the Midwest and the South, almost always to hunt deer. Tree stands first became commercialized in the 1970s, and by the 1990s there were more than 100 manufacturers, says John Louk, executive director of the Treestand Manufacturer’s Association.
_According to the Ohio study, half of hunting-related injuries that sent people to the hospital were caused by falls, 92% from tree stands. Gunshot wounds made up 29% of injuries. Very few of the injuries (2.3%) were related to alcohol use. “You fall from that height and something’s going to break,” Cook says. “We just admitted a guy this morning who fell out of a tree and is now a paraplegic.”
Moral of the story? Keep that safety harness on…