Minnesota Bowhunter Airlifted to Hospital After Falling From Deer Stand

by Amy Myers
Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Posted in a tree in central Minnesota, a 28-year-old bowhunter suffered a substantial injury after falling from his stand.

It’s a risk many deer hunters take when they climb into a tree stand before the break of dawn. Seated upwards of 20 feet in the air, your back rests against the thin trunk of a pine tree that, with the right wind, creaks and sways enough to give you vertigo.

The accident occurred on Saturday, October 15. According to the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office, Leroy Zollner of Merrifield, Minnesota fell from his treestand at roughly 6:19 p.m. At the time, Zollner was hunting near the 11000 block of Leisure Lane in Maple Grove Township.

First responders on the scene reported that the bowhunter fell approximately 25 to 30 feet from his stand. The police department did not disclose the nature of Zollner’s injuries. However, officials did report that they had to airlift the bowhunter out of the area to receive treatment at the nearby St. Cloud Hospital.

“It was reported that a family member that was hunting on the same property as the male had talked to him by phone and knew he was injured but did not know where he was,” the sheriff’s report said. 

Of course, you can wear a harness, and many hunters do for an added bit of security. But when you’re lugging your bow, layers, seat cushion and range finder through the woods and water, it’s much easier just to hook your pack and pop a squat until you hear the leaves rustle below you.

Fellow Bowhunter Suffers Freak Accident One Month Prior

On September 15, exactly one month before Zollner’s accident, another bowhunter was the subject of a complicated rescue in the Spirit River valley of Alberta, Canada. At the time, Chris Landers was hunting for elk with two friends. As they located the game animal’s tracks, an arrow fell from Landers’ quiver and landed broadhead-side up on the ground.

Unaware that the arrow was missing from his gear, Landers walked right into the arrow.

“[The arrow] went right beside the bone, almost halfway up my leg,” Landers recalled to Outdoor Life. “It went past my knee and snapped off somewhere. We found the bottom half of the arrow and another small chunk where it broke, so about 10 inches of arrow were in my leg.”

And the rescue effort was just as intense as the injury itself.

“We stopped the bleeding so that it wasn’t crazy bad,” Landers continued. “And I just tried to calm myself down a little bit. We had STARS Air Ambulance flying overhead about an hour and a half later. They nosed down and one of the nurses came down and put a tourniquet on. She couldn’t get an I.V. in because I was in shock, so she had to do an [intraosseous infusion] and had to drill a hole in my leg to put meds in through my shinbone.”

The bowhunter is still recovering from the accident, but doctors aren’t sure if Landers will regain full mobility and feeling in his leg.