Pataskala Man Injured In Fall From Tree Stand, Similar Incidents On The Rise

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A man who fell 30 feet from a tree stand used for hunting says he’s thankful his injuries are not worse.

Medical helicopters responded to the 6300 block of Refugee Road in Pataskala just before 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

Dave Wilson was taken to OSU Wexner Medical Center after fracturing 8 vertebrae and his elbow.

An OSU Wexner Medical Center report shows tree stands are more dangerous to hunters than guns.

During the 10 year study, researchers identified 130 patients who suffered hunting-related injuries.

Fifty percent of injuries were from falls and 92 percent of those falls were from tree stands. Only 29 percent of the injuries were from gunshot wounds.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife said about one in every three hunters will experience a fall from a tree stand in their hunting career.

Wednesday’s incident was the third in two days for the OSU Wexner Medical Center.

"As hunting season picks up, we expect to see quite a bit more. It tends to be very seasonal,” said Dr. Creagh Boulger, OSU Wexner Medical Center.

Boulger said all three recent accidents involved hunters falling from tree stands, and that includes Wilson’s 30 feet plummet.
"About 30 mph is the equivalent that you're hitting the ground with, and usually it's a hard, cold surface,” said Boulger.

Wilson said he had temporarily disconnected his safety harness when he fell.

Wildlife officials stress not only having a full body safety harness but using it properly.

Karen Norris of the Ohio Division of Wildlife said a little piece of equipment can save lives.

"Always have three points of contact. You'll have your hands, you'll have your feet, and you'll have the safety harness rope,” said John Farson, Ohio Division of Wildlife

Wildlife officials say it's important to keep your hands free as you're getting into the tree stand. You can haul up any equipment after you're already in place.

"You haul up the gun, you haul up the backpack. You can make several haul lines so you can haul everything up to you so you have everything with you while you're in the tree stand." said Norris.

Wildlife officials also said to make sure your rope is tight in case you do fall from your stand. They encourage plenty of prep time learning how to handle a fall.

"If I've practiced, it won't panic me and I'll be able to safely climb back into the stand and continue the hunt,” added Farson.

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