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A hard lesson learned. Please be careful.

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A hard lesson learned. Please be careful.

Old 10-14-2009, 06:51 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Elkville, IL
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Default A hard lesson learned. Please be careful.

I wanted to share this with all of my fellow bowhunters in the hopes that it will remind all of you to be safe and how your whole world can change in the blink of an eye.

Tuesday morning dawned cool and overcast. A northeast wind of 10 m.p.h. told my friend, who we will call Jim, which stand he should head to. He arrived to our lease a little later than he had planned. Once outside the truck, Jim hastily got dressed, gathered his gear, and set off in the morning darkness to the stand. When he got to the base of the tree Jim realized that he had left his haul rope in the truck. For a moment he thought about quickly going back to retrieve it, but shooting time was fast approaching and he wanted to be in position from the first moment on. Jim slung his full pack over his shoulder, secured his bow to his safety harness, and started his ascent of the climbing stick leading to his stand. Just as he reached the platform, Jim tried to readjust his load in order to step into the stand. In an instant Jim felt himself slip and then he felt the sickening feeling falling through the air. He landed with a loud "Thump!" at the base of the tree. For a moment he laid motionless, trying to process what had just happened. Slowly, he began to move. First he made sure that he could move his arms and legs. Luckily, all of his limbs responded to the command to move. As soon as Jim moved his right leg, white hot pain shot through his whole body making him want to cry out in the dark. He struggled to his feet and started to assess the damage. He found a large tear in his jacket that revealed an equally large scrape on his stomach. He began to check his lower extremities and while he didn't find any more tears in clothing or skin, his right leg was protesting any attempt to bear weight. With great care and great discomfort, Jim gathered his gear and painfully made his way back to his truck. As soon as he was back inside the vehicle he called me.

When the call came in so early on a morning when I knew that my friend had planned on being in the woods, my thought as I answered was "He must need help getting one out." Unfortunately, I was greeted with the words no hunter wants to hear from his friend "I just fell" was the first thing he said.

Luckily for Jim the x-rays showed nothing more than a bad sprain of his right knee. A little while on crutches and a little physical therapy are all my friend will need to get back in the woods. We all know his fall could have had far worse consequences.

I cannot stress enough to all of you PLEASE BE CAREFUL and AWARE every time you head to a stand. Don't take shortcuts when it comes to safety. Do not climb with anything in your hand(s). If you can, make sure you are tied off from the time you leave the ground, until the time you are back on it. ALWAYS wear a safety harness in the tree. Take your time going up and coming down the tree. Make sure someone knows where you are hunting. Carry a cell phone, even if you don't use one personally pick up one of the prepaid phones and use it for emergencies only.

I know this may sound like the same old same old to many of you, and that many will have that "It will never happen to me" mentality. Truth is, it can happen to ANY of us.

I just wanted to take the time to write this in the hopes that it will remind everyone to take that extra moment to insure that they are being as careful as possible. Remember, we all have families that count on us and care about us. We owe it to them to make sure the time we spend afield is spent as safely as it can be.
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Old 10-14-2009, 07:10 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Location: West NE
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Yikes. Hope he's on his way to a speedy recovery. +1 for getting a prepaid cell phone. They are available in plans like "pay per minute" where you can have them for emergencies and not worry about paying for a plan. Caution helps, but accidents happen all the time.
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Old 10-14-2009, 07:29 PM
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Location: Minnesota
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Wow Brett,glad your buddy is ok.
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Old 10-15-2009, 12:15 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 36

I'm glad to hear your friend is going to be ok. Stand safety can't be stressed enough.
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Old 10-15-2009, 12:46 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Horseheads NY
Posts: 403

WOW!!! I'm glad he didn't get hurt any more than he did. Someone was looking out for him. I never sit in any of my stands without my harness. But your right, we need to take extra caution when climbing into our stands, boots wet, ladders wet, we have to take extra caution because of those things. Be careful everyone, lets all come home safe and enjoy a back strap BBQ......
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Old 10-15-2009, 02:44 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: charles county,md
Posts: 66

damn good post..........it's always going to be the 'other guy' that has trouble and not ''us''.........glad your bro is ok and mending back up......plain lucky......just another 'reason' i tie off at the bottom of the tree before doing my s & c routine and i do try and take my time!
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Old 10-15-2009, 02:56 AM
Giant Nontypical
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Location: Nekoosa Wi USA
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Glad to hear hes doing well. Hes lucky.....very lucky. It could have turned out a lot worse than it did. Cant stress enough how important it is to not rush. If he would have just gone back and gotten his pull rope, then things may have turned out different. I always leave my pull ropes attached to my stands at all times and carry a back up just incase one is chewed up or missing. Always tie in before leaving the ground. When hunting my hang ons with climbing sticks I use my climbing harness on my way up and down, and clip my harness to my tether before I even climb into the stand. Sure it can be a pain in the butt, but its better than falling to a possible death or ending up in a wheel chair the rest of your life.
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Old 10-15-2009, 04:32 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Location: Virginia / West Virginia
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Glad to hear it turned out ok for him. He got lucky. I've gotten alot more careful over the years, that is for sure. It scares the crap out of me to think back at what I used to do when I was young. I have no idea how I never fell. Next season I'm gonna put the safety ropes on all my stands, so that I can hook up while climbing. I always take my time but you never know.
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:22 AM
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Location: Southern Illinois
Posts: 1,559

I am glad to hear that your buddy is not hurt as bad as he could have been.

I use to be the person that always thought that nothing like this would or could happen with me. That was until I took a 32ft fall at the start of last season. Some how, I was able to walk away with nothing more than some stitches and bruising. I never wore a safety harness before that day. Today, I will not get in a tree without one, nor will I allow anyone to hunt my leases without one. To this day, I still get shakey knees when I first step onto the platform of a stand and it takes about an hour in the stand before I start feeling comfortable.

While Brett has given some very good words of wisdom, I am sure this will not be the last thread this year about someone taking a fall.

Think about it guys, we are not only talking about how an accident like this can affect your life, but the life of your wife and children. Strap in!!!
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:33 AM
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Location: Hughesville, PA USA
Posts: 18,322

Wow Brett, thankfully everything turned out semi alright and this is a great reminder to us all. We think we are invincible but we/you are not.

Please be careful out there.
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