Indiana Hunter Killed After Tree Stand Collapses

by Emily Morgan
Photo by: picture alliance / Contributor

Indiana officials said a man has died in a hunting accident in the state’s Scott County. Indiana Conservation officers said on Tuesday first responders went to the scene near Taylor Road near Scottsburg. According to reports, 94-year-old Donald Cass was deer hunting from a homemade tree stand when it fell. Authorities say he wasn’t wearing a full-body safety harness at the time of the collapse.

Later, a fellow hunter found Cass and immediately called the police. After they arrived, he was taken to Scott Memorial Hospital and was later airlifted to University Hospital. Sadly, once he arrived, doctors pronounced him dead.

Now, conservation officers in the state are using this as a cautionary tale for other hunters who hunt in stands. They urge hunters who use elevated platforms always to wear a full body harness and take other safety precautions while using deer stands.

While we know hunting can be a great way to spend one’s time, there are risks associated with the sport. According to the Mayo Clinic, between 3,000 to 4,000 people in the U.S. are injured each year after falling out of a tree stand.

Tree stand injuries can lead to broken bones, concussions, and internal bleeding. Sometimes, a fall can even lead to a head injury or spine damage, resulting in paralysis.

However, don’t let this stop you from hunting in a stand. Most injuries from tree stands are preventable. The most common reason for falling is not wearing a safety harness while in a stand. However, hunters can take steps to mitigate tree stand injuries.

How hunters can stay safe in their tree stands

First, experts say to invest in a five-point harness. Also, it’s essential to find the best tree possible. While scouting locations before the season, look for a live tree to support your weight. In addition, make sure to get adequate rest before a hunt. Accidents can happen when hunters are sleep deprived, including falling asleep in the stand.

It’s also best to forgo any alcohol and drug use. Hunting while on substances can make for a deadly combo. Finally, understand your own physical abilities. Properly climbing in and out of a stand requires a good amount of physical effort, so you may want to bow out if you’ve recently undergone surgery, faced a health issue, or simply do not have the strength or stamina.

Remember, the most dangerous time for falls is when hunters are climbing in and out of stands. So it’s critical to remember these steps: use a climbing rope, use your three contact points, climb higher than the stand, use the rope to lift or lower your weapon and pack, and clip yourself into the stand.