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Madison, Wis. – Thousands of deer hunters will take to the woods of Wisconsin and northern Illinois this weekend, and sadly some will end up in a trauma center from a tree stand fall.
Falls can occur from getting in and out of a tree stand, improper installation, worn or broken parts, like straps and chains, or falling asleep in a stand and not being properly secured.
But, it doesn’t have to be this way, according to Dr. Lee Faucher, trauma surgeon, UW Health, and professor of surgery, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
“All too often this time of year I see patients in my care who fell from a tree stand,” he said. “Their lives are sometimes altered forever if they are paralyzed or have some other type of catastrophic injury from a tree stand fall.”
One of the most common times for a fall is when the hunter is detached from the safety strap during the transition in or out of the stand, Faucher said, after speaking with a number of patients over the years.
To avoid falls, always install the stand according to the manufacturer’s instructions, wear a full body harness and two safety straps and be diligent and careful when climbing up the stand, getting seated and descending down the stand, and use a rope to lift gear up to the stand, he said.
National Injury Prevention Day coincides with the start of the gun deer hunting seasons — today in northern Illinois and Saturday in Wisconsin — which is a great opportunity to raise awareness for a very preventable injury, according to Faucher.
“We want all hunters and their families to be aware of the risks involved with hunting in a tree stand, but more importantly, how to mitigate that risk by proper installation and use of their deer stand,” he said. “Hunting is a great tradition in this region, and we want every hunter to be healthy for seasons to come.”