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Old September 12, 2012, 09:28 AM   #1
2damnold4this
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took a fall

While bush hogging down at the hunting land on the First, I decided to check on a stand I wanted to hunt opening day. It had a bunch of spider webs around the seat area, so I got a stick and climbed up to clean it. I didn't see the large wasp nest behind the webs and was startled by the bugs flying out and hitting me in the face. Like a fool, I let go of the ladder and started down. I had time to think that this was a bad thing but maybe it wouldn't be too bad. When I hit, my right foot turned about 90 degrees. The heavy snake boot helped pop the foot back to about 60 degrees but I knew bad things had happened.

Thanks to my poor planning (I carry water and a cell phone when hunting) and the fact that I was alone, I knew I had an unpleasant task ahead of me. I could choose to crawl towards the creek where there was some brackish water about fifty yards away or I could crawl up the trail through the brush towards the tractor several hundred yards away. Not wanting to spend the night in the woods with broken bones, the tractor became the goal. I could feel the broken bones grinding against each other when the toe of my boot would catch on roots. The heat, ants, chiggers and ticks weren't fun but I made it to the tracker after an hour and a half and climbed up and got it started. After that, the drive to my truck where a bottle of water and cell phone waited wasn't too bad. A call to some friends and 911 got help on the way. I drove down to the gate and it wasn't long before help arrived. I've got two rods through my shin and one rod through my heel to stretch the broken bones back out. The tib and fib are both cleanly broken near the ankle and there are a few fractures in the bones in the ankle. I should be walking in a few months.

The next time I go out, I won't be alone and I'll have some water and other survival gear with me. The cell phone doesn't work where the fall took place but it might have worked up the hill where the tractor was. I'd also rather take a few stings than a bone breaking fall.

Be careful out there.
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Old September 12, 2012, 11:24 AM   #2
AllenJ
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Ouch! Glad all turned out OK though and hope you have a speedy recovery. Does this kill your deer season completely?
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Old September 12, 2012, 11:46 AM   #3
Woody55
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Good to hear you kept it all together and got yourself out of the problem.

Unfortunately, there isn't any cell phone coverage worth speaking of on our place. I try to be real careful. Even more so when I am out with stuff like a chain saw than with a firearm.
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Old September 12, 2012, 12:48 PM   #4
chewie146
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Good luck on your recovery! That's why I'm scared of tree stands. I'm clumsy enough without additional help from height+gravity. I guess that's why I don't mind western hunting. No tree stands! I hope everything turns out well for you, and I'll say a prayer for ya.
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Old September 12, 2012, 02:28 PM   #5
Doyle
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Almost exact same thing happened to a guy who bowhunts the same parcel I do. He was in the stand and got attacked by hornets so he jumped. Broke both ankles. In his case, cell phone worked so they got a 4-wheeler in to him.
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Old September 12, 2012, 02:38 PM   #6
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Hopefully a lot of people will read this. I guess tree stands are just good protected place for wasps. It seems like they get in ours about as often as not. Hard to make yourself take it and climb back down with the suckers having at you.
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Old September 12, 2012, 06:11 PM   #7
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Good luck on your recovery.

I had a hunting partner several years ago who fell out of stand knocking himself out cold, broke a finger, a few ribs and messed his shoulder up badly. Once he came to, he thinks he was out for at least an hour, he was able to walk to his truck and make it out ok. He of course had no cell and was out by himself so that could have ended very badly for him had he landed on the rocks in the dry creek bed instead of the grassy hillside.

I've stayed on the ground ever since.
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Old September 12, 2012, 06:53 PM   #8
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Sounds unpleasent......but the fact that you obviously are not the kind of person who panics kept it from being a disaster. Must of hurt like H#$$!!

Thanks for sharing...........
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Old September 12, 2012, 07:25 PM   #9
Doyle
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The guy I mentioned earlier is a firefighter. He now hunts with his safety vest hooked to a static line with a prussic knot (one that slides down the static line at a controlled speed).
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Old September 12, 2012, 07:41 PM   #10
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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2damnold4this. Two fellows I worked many years alongside of fell out of their stands. Both broke their back. Many years ago I got up in a stand that I thought was safe and fell out backwards as part of it collapsed behind and under me. Broke two ribs on that fall. As luck would have it I ended up landing on top of my own rifle. Long walk that afternoon close to a mile hurting each and every step of the way. That old winchester 94 I was carrying never suffered a dent or scratch. But it sure left a nice BIG bruise mark on me. Good luck with your healing process. "Better days are coming Sir."
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Old September 12, 2012, 11:56 PM   #11
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old4 this, Hope you get healed up OK.

I don't leave stands up year round and encourage all to do same. No weathering, no wasps, etc. Heck of a lot of work though.

I'm pretty serious about off ground safety. The line and prussic knot trick is a good one for fixed stands and not (pun intended) hard to learn. You can even put a line on a tree you put a climbing stand on and intend to climb more than once.
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Old September 13, 2012, 10:21 AM   #12
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"""The line and prussic knot trick is a good one for fixed stands and not (pun intended) hard to learn. You can even put a line on a tree you put a climbing stand on and intend to climb more than once."""

What the gentleman said right there........last couple of years it's what we've done......easy and inexpensive insurance.
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Old September 13, 2012, 11:08 AM   #13
MLeake
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Without meaning to pick on the OP (but wishing him a speedy recovery), I think this might have been different if he had been stung while at the firing line. Most of us drill into our heads that whether it's a stoppage or hot brass down our shirt, the muzzle stays downrange, and if necessary we will shelve or holster the weapon.

Similarly, friends and I have had bees go inside our shirts, vests, or jackets while riding motorcycles. In all those cases, we pulled over first, then dealt with stinging critters.

I think people need to gear their minds, ahead of time, that a fall from a tree stand will be worse than even multiple stings (with the rare exception of those allergic types who are likely to go into anaphylactic shock), and the first reaction to any problem has to be "do not fall".
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Old September 13, 2012, 11:24 AM   #14
2damnold4this
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I'll take the advice about the Prusic knot. I've got plenty of time to practice knot tying.

MLeake, I don't know what got to me this time. Usually, I'm in control enough not to do something stupid like letting go of the ladder. I remember pulling rusted sheet metal off the roof of an old barn and letting the wasps sting me because it would be bad to fall. I think wearing eye protection on the roof may have given a mental edge that I lacked on the tree stand ladder. I also had eye protection when stung multiple times mowing grass and it didn't bother me to be stung. It was shady at the stand and I had slipped my sunglasses into my pocket when I climbed up. I don't know if it would have made a difference or not if I had worn them.
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Old September 13, 2012, 11:56 AM   #15
MLeake
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Yeah, things going for the eyes (or perceived to be) would be harder to overcome.

Eye protection might be a good idea.

Safety line and knot sound like a good idea.

I still think mental reminders are a good idea, too.

(Which is why I always remind trainees, the unwritten first step of any aircraft emergency procedure is "Fly the airplane!")
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Old September 13, 2012, 01:12 PM   #16
ZeroJunk
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With the stuff I do I always get stung several times a year, sometimes several times a day. Confounded yellow jackets mostly, usually weed eating.

I don't ignore them, but I don't get particularly excited about it either. Usually take some Benadryl just in case.
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Old September 15, 2012, 02:24 PM   #17
Capt Charlie
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A Few Things About Prusik Knots

Sorry I'm late to the party . In my younger years I was an avid caver and rock climber, and Prusik knots were one of the handiest knots in my bag of tricks, but there are some downsides you need to be aware of.

First, they don't work well on wet, muddy or icey ropes. Your descent under those conditions is more a barely controlled fall. Prusiks can also be really hard to release when wet.

If you're using a single Prusik on a safety line, be aware that you can't release the knot while it's bearing weight. The heavier the weight, the tighter the knot grips the rope, so unless you have some means of taking your weight off of the knot, you'll probably find yourself just hanging around for awhile .

Finally, the rope used to tie a Prusik must be a smaller diameter than your climbing or safety rope. If not, it can't grip the rope very well and you'll take an express ride to the ground. Here is a decent article with a lot more information and diagrams.

The best advice I can give is to practice using these knots under controlled conditions, preferably with an experienced climber, before you use these in the field.
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Old September 15, 2012, 02:55 PM   #18
buck460XVR
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One of the biggest threats we face when we go into the woods is ourselves. Actions that end up with injuries always seem foolish afterward, but generally not so much beforehand. Used to be for years whenever the itch to go hunting needed to be scratched, I would jump in the truck and head out without any concern that something might go wrong. After hearing of the experiences of friends and others like you, I never go into the woods unprepared for the worst and always tell folks where I am planning to go. Many times when hunting large tracts of public land, I leave a map on the dash of the truck of where my stand is located and the route I will take to and back. Better safe than sorry. Glad to hear your experience turned out better than some. Altho you need to heal, at least you lived thru it and will have the opportunity to hunt again.
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Old September 16, 2012, 04:52 PM   #19
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One has to be careful in the woods and the outdoors, especially when alone. I often hunt alone (due to everyone else’s schedules through the week) on our deer lease which is 240 miles from home. Generally I am on my own and the land lease owner and his family are the only ones that have a clue as to when I go into the woods and when I come out. I call my wife and brother in law only after coming out of the woods each day (sometimes during lunch rime if I kill a deer). If something happened in the woods to me I could be there for hours before anyone even has a clue something might be wrong. Maybe longer than that since the land owner is a big bear hunter and he leaves on week long trips to his bear camp. I try to hunt smart and not take any chances, but you never know in the woods when a fall can spoil everything. Most of our tree stands are ladder stands and that is probably the best opportunity to get hurt in a bad way. I do carry my cell phone in my shirt pocket at all times and figure if at least I don't get knocked out I can call for help.
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Old September 18, 2012, 09:54 PM   #20
Gbro
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2dam,

I wish you a speedy and full recovery.
This story might interest you. it's a few years old but relevant.
http://www.nashwauk.net/LarryMackey.html

As for my climbing stands, well I am nice and comfy at 5-6 feet off the ground.
and I just don't care for the ladder stands at all.
I bought a ground blind this summer to go along with my fav stand which is a folding chair.
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Old September 21, 2012, 05:59 AM   #21
Jack O'Conner
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I'm thankful you made it out of the woods OK. Plan to keep us updated.

TR
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Old September 21, 2012, 12:01 PM   #22
2damnold4this
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Thanks to all for the encouragement. That was an interesting article, Gbro. Like the author, I regret the worry and inconvenience I have caused people.

If all goes well, I'll get another surgery Monday and trade this external contraption for internal plates, screws and a cast. The rods sticking out of my heal and shin tend to get caught on things when moving. I'll be glad when the rods are gone but I have learned to get around with a walker.

This has been hard on my wife and co-workers and hopefully I'll be soon able to do more around the house and do some work at the shop. The Oglethorpe county EMS people did a great job getting me to the emergency room and the staff at Athens Regional were great while I was there for the first surgery.
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Old December 17, 2012, 10:32 AM   #23
2damnold4this
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It's been two surgeries and a long recuperation but after 15 weeks, I took my first steps this morning. I can't walk very elegantly and I feel every step but I can walk. There are sixteen screws and two plates in my leg but I drove myself to the shop for the first time in months. : )
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Old December 17, 2012, 11:01 AM   #24
Gbro
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Thank you for the update! So good to hear you are doing better.
Since your fall we have had 2 bad falls from hunting stands here, both with back fractures. Both are up and walking now but the younger one has anckle braces and is still using a wheel chair 50%, but every day is better!
Keep pushing,.

Greg
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Old December 17, 2012, 11:16 AM   #25
ChasingWhitetail91
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I have a story for you guys, about five years ago my mom's cousin and his three brothers went hunting. They drink when they hunt (which i do not condone in anyway, but they are on their own land and don't seem to bother anyone) and the youngest brother Frankie decided to get in his climber stand. An hour into the hunt Frankie tried to grab a smoke and fell out of his stand. Luckily he had a harness, unluckily the harness wrapped around his legs in some way that had him ass over tea kettle 15 feet off the ground. He reached for his knife to cut himself loose (which wouldnt seem to smart to me being 15 ft up a tree) but he dropped his knife. Three hours later his brothers found him hanging upside down in a tree with a cigarette lit singing to himself.
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