While errant shots from guns are a worry during hunting season, hunters who perch up in trees for bow hunting also face the potential for serious problems. An Iowa hunter died last weekend when his tree stand collapsed beneath him.
Al Foster, of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says they don’t track all the injuries and accidents from deer stands, but they do have nationwide numbers. He says they know 500 bow hunters die across the country each year from tree stand falls, with another 5 to 7,000 suffering "pretty substantial injuries," and another ten to 15,000 more suffer various degrees of minor injuries.
Foster says planning for a bow hunt, while it doesn’t involve a gun, has to be well thought out with safety in mind. Foster says it is just as important as hunting with a gun, if not more important. He says they always say to "plan your hunt and hunt your plan" in other types of hunting, and it’s also important in bow hunting from a tree stand. Foster says you have to make sure the tools you’re using to hunt are the best available.
Foster says equipment is very important, with the safety harness the most important tool you can have in your arsenal. Foster says don’t use the lap belt or upper body harnesses, you need a new full body type harness, so that if you fall, you will be suspended upright. Foster says if you have one of the old type harnesses, you should get rid of it and buy a new one.
Foster says hunters are investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in bows and stands, and for an extra 75 dollars you can buy a tool that could save your life. The DNR says 41-year-old Scott Ferris of St. Charles died over the weekend when his tree stand fell beneath him. Ferris was wearing a safety harness and was suspended above the ground and is believed to have suffocated.