A deer hunter was injured Tuesday when he fell roughly 17-feet out of a tree stand in southern Iowa’s Appanoose County. Kevin Baskins, with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says the hunter, who was carrying a crossbow, slipped on the first step of his ladder while descending the tree stand.
Baskins says 25-year-old Blake Havard of Centerville landed on his backpack and was lucky he wasn’t impaled as the backpack contained antlers. Havard was airlifted to Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines for treatment of his injuries.
“They’re certainly not life-threatening. It looks like he suffered some bruises and will live to hunt another day,” Baskins said. So far this year in Iowa, one hunter has died and three have been injured in falls from tree stands. Baskins believes there are many more incidents that don’t get reported and many occur because the hunter is trying to carry all of their gear.
“That’s one of the recommendations we make – is make sure you’re bringing that stuff up and lowering it down with tow ropes, rather than carrying it on you when you’re trying to get in or out of a tree stand,” Baskins said. “You’re often times several feet up in the air and trying to carry a lot of equipment when you’re trying to get in or out can affect your balance a great deal.”
Baskins added hunters using tree stands should also be aware of slippery surfaces due to dew, rain or frost. “The biggest thing is just take your time,” Baskins said.
“People tend to get in a hurry and they want to try and carry several things at once and try and get in and out of there as quickly as they can. We would urge them to just take their time and make sure they’re being safe when they’re getting in and out of that tree stand.”
A Vinton man was killed in a fall from a tree stand last Saturday in southeast Iowa’s Henry County. Baskins said 38-year-old Clint Michael Lawrence was hunting by himself, so it’s unclear why he fell.