As Michigan hunters eagerly prepare for this year's hunting season, hospital emergency departments anticipate an increase in hunting-related visits, especially resulting from tree-stand falls.
“A hunter is two-to-three times more likely to be injured by a fall from a tree stand than from a firearm, although either can happen,” says emergency medicine specialist and hunting enthusiast Alan Lazzara, M.D.
Most often occurring as the hunter is climbing up or down from the tree stand, these falls can cause serious leg fractures and spinal cord injuries. Long-term disability, including paralysis is possible.
Safety Precautions To Avoid Tree-Stand Falls
- Always wear a high-quality, full-body tree harness.
- Keep your stand at a reasonable height of 10 to 15 feet.
- Make sure your tree stand is securely built and the tree is healthy.
- Clear the area beneath your stand of rocks and branches.
- Do an equipment safety check before and after every outing, replacing any broken straps or parts.
- Avoid alcohol and other drugs before and during your hunt.
- Carry a cell phone and a whistle for emergency signaling.
- Clip into your safety line or linemen's belt every time you leave the ground.
- Research proper safety procedures for climbing up and down from the tree.
Henry Ford Health has nine ER locations across southeast and south central Michigan, along with many same-day, immediate care options. Learn more about how to get care when and where you need it.
Dr. Alan Lazzara is board certified in emergency medicine and cares for patients at Henry Ford Allegiance Health in Jackson. Dr. Lazzara is an avid hunter and a passionate advocate for hunting safety.