DNR urges caution after several tree stand accidents

In just the past four days, three Michiana men have been injured after falling from tree stands.

On Monday, a Grovertown man fell more than 20 feet from a stand.

He was hospitalized with head, neck and chest injuries.
Then, two days later, a Michigan City man and a Bremen man were both injured after tree stand falls.

Because it's early in the hunting season, many people are just getting their tree stands out for the first time.

And, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources says, unfortunately, some aren't following proper safety precautions.

Most tree stand falls actually happen when someone is climbing up to or down from a stand.

In one of the incidents from the past week, the hunter was climbing into his stand, when the support chain slipped, causing the platform to give out.

To avoid injuries, the DNR says hunters should wear full body harnesses.

"They should never leave the ground and hunt from an elevated position without that harness," said DNR Corporal Ashlee Jackson.

Those harnesses should be approved by the Tree Stand Manufacturer's Association.

Jackson says it's also important for hunters to test their tree stands before use.

"If you're hunting from a homemade stand, the best thing to do is to check it to make sure it's functional before every use, especially if it's sitting out all season," he said. "Make sure they read instructions before they install them to a tree and know how to operate them before they hunt from them."

When heading out to hunt, Jackson says people should always carry a cell phone with them to contact help, if needed.

But, in one of the recent accidents, the hunter's injuries prevented him from being able to call for help.

That's why the DNR says hunters should always tell someone where they'll be and what time they expect to be back.

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