Hunters should take steps to avoid falls - - Jackson, MS

Hunters should take steps to avoid falls

Thousands of Americans hunt for wild game each year and for many that involves using a stand high in the trees. But falls can be dangerous and have caused many injuries this hunting season already.

One hunter came face to face with his mortality and is lying in a hospital bed. "I shouldn't be here," said injured hunter Brian Calvert. "I broke all these ribs. All these bones in my shoulder. My clavicle. They're all broke."

Calvert has to practice breathing, the after math of a punctured and collapsed lung. "One little tree harness would have prevented all of this."

Calvert wasn't wearing one though when he fell 16 feet from a tree stand recently. "I've been sitting in the this tree for 10 years. I knew every limb on there and you sit somewhere that long, you sit all day, it's like your office."

But when one of those limbs snapped..."It just sucked me straight down. When I hit, I knew something was bad. I couldn't move. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't do anything. I just wanted to die."

Instead, Calvert somehow got on his ATV and found help, ending up in a hospital bed for a week.

Bill Doss is with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. "That is our number one accident. Hunting wise. Is tree stand falls. This is a little bit more of a cumbersome model," Doss demonstrates a safety harness.

The Indiana DNR has a campaign encouraging hunters to wear safety harnesses in tree stands. "It might be a cheaper model, but it will still save your life."

Wearing one isn't required and a law has never been proposed. "It would be extremely difficult to enforce. I would say it would be similar to seat belts," Doss said.

Calvert now agrees. "It's the best 100-bucks, you'll ever spend. I'm going to wear one from now on."

For this hunter, it all comes down to one simple question. "Do you want to live or do you want to die?"

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