View Full Version : My Ordeal - A firsthand lesson in Treestand safety...

October 3, 2007, 01:33 PM
If anyone's been wondering where I've been lately, I've had kindof a rough week.

On Saturday, Sept 22nd, I went into work for about 8 hours and then headed for the woods to bow hunt. I was tired and PO'd from work and really needed the relaxation of a nice evening hunt. I picked up my father in law and we were off. He decided to simply spot and stalk instead of getting into a treestand. I made the decision to go to my hotspot stand where I'd seen four the previous Saturday. This is a wooden built stand that I've hunted for more than 10 years and have taken 15-16 deer from in that time. It has never failed to account for at least one deer in a season.

I got to the stand at about 4:30PM and tied my bow off and started climbing. As I reached the top rung of the ladder, I grabbed for a limb that I've used a thousand times to haul myself into my seat. The limb broke sending all 240lbs of me tumbling backward approx 18ft to the ground below. I landed on my back on my pack and some wood. I was immediately out. I don't know for how long, but I know I was unconscious for a bit.

I came to and tried to get up. It was a definite no go. I could move my arms and my legs. My toes and fingers all worked, but I didn't have the strength to stand and even attempting to was excruciating. I suspected then that I'd broken my back. I tried yelling for help, but I didn't have the wind to yell very loud and my father in law was some distance away by that point. I think I passed out again somewhere along there.

I remember fumbling my cell phone out of it's case, but I don't remember who I called. Turns out I called my mother in law first who couldn't understand what I was saying and assumed it was an obscene phone call (Lots of gasping/heavy breathing, No caller ID). I called my wife next and finally got her to understand what had happened. She was at work about 20 mins from where we hunt. She headed toward me while trying to get my father in law on his cell phone. At this point I had passed out again.

I remember hearing my father in law coming through the woods to me that woke me up. He was on the phone with my wife and was directing her how to find us. He sat down beside me and asked if I could move, I told him barely but I was sure my back was broken. He sat down with me and talked to me, trying to keep me alert. I was in and out again.

My wife arrived and they got 911 on the way. They were trying to figure out how the EMT's were gonna get me out of the woods. As soon as She hung up the phone I remember hearing sirens in the distance. I think I passed out again. My wife headed out to the road to lead the EMS crew into where I was while my father in law stayed with me to keep me conscious. I remember him telling me a story about a mutual friend of ours doing this same thing 20 years ago and having to crawl 3 miles back to his house. At least I wouldn’t be crawling.

The EMT crew arrived and checked me over. They cut my shirt away and found a deformity around L-1. My hips hurt and my left hand was starting to turn purple. I was having trouble breathing. They put a cervical collar on me and strapped me to a back board and discussed briefly how they would haul my rather large carriage out of the woods to the ambulance. I heard the word helicopter mentioned for the first time somewhere around here. They discussed using the Gator they had along to cart me out. They actually got it stuck trying to get it in to me so that was thankfully out.

The three men and one woman of the EMS crew lifted me and carried me about 50 yds before they had to stop for a break. This was repeated a couple more times before we got back to the cornfield. Once I was out in the open they did a more thorough exam and became concerned about my breathing. They were convinced that my right lung was partially collapsed. They stuck a needle in my chest to relieve the pressure. They found out then my lung wasn’t collapsed. The needle in the chest thing really sucked.

October 3, 2007, 01:34 PM
At this point they find out that both of UNC’s helo’s are occupied at the moment but they can get one in from Duke and take me to UNC. It was a go. 5 minutes later the helo was touching down and everyone was covered in dirt from the cornfield. They got me on the helo and while strapping me down, ripped the needle out of my chest. It hurt, but it immediately felt better once it was out of there too. Within minutes they were unloading me on the roof of UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. I remember asking for water and being told they couldn’t give me anything because I’d likely be in surgery soon.

They got me into the ER and I was in and out of consciousness through most of it. I remember them catheterizing me. I wish I didn’t. I remember meeting my Neurosurgeon for the first time. He said that they knew my back was broken, but that I still had use of all extremities and while I may need surgery I should recover without loss of function. He said they would do Xrays soon to confirm and then make a plan. I again asked for water and he said unfortunately no since I may be a candidate for emergency surgery.

Several hours, two brutal sets of xrays, an MRI from hell and CT scan later they determine that I have a severe burst fracture of L-1. My ribs are unbroken as is my left hand. Since I’m not losing any strength in my lower body and the surgery itself carries a level of risk of paralysis, they decide to postpone til the next day when the doctors are fresher. I finally got some water. The doctor described for me for the first time the surgery they would do. 8 titanium screws into the vertebra that’s broken plus the two above and one below. 2 titanium rods run through those screws plus a horizontal stabilizing bar connecting them. They will take my own bone fragments along with cadaver bone and seed the area around it to allow bone growth to fuse all this in place.

They move me into a room sometime that night along with a fellow who’s just had his second brain surgery and isn’t quite himself. I was pretty looped out on strong painkillers from here forward so the next couple of days are a blur. I remember them bumping my surgery from Sunday to Monday because more emergent cases came first. Since I still had use of my legs I was less severe than some of those who were coming in. Starting Monday morning early I started having muscle spasms in my back. My legs were being drawn straight up into my body by these spasms. I felt like I was being torn in half every time one came on. They came about every half hour.

They took me down for one more set of xrays before surgery. Every time they do this they have to transfer me onto a back board and then a stretcher. Every time they do this I nearly pass out from the pain and the spasms that are triggered by the movement. Finally they prescribe a muscle relaxant which stops the spasms and pretty much knocks me out.

They came to get me for surgery sometime after lunch on Monday. I barely remember them rolling me out of the room. I don’t remember getting to the OR or counting backward or any of that. I do remember coming out of surgery in a world of pain with a morphine button in my hand. That button became my best friend for the next 24 hours.

I was in and out over the next couple of days. When I was with it enough my wife filled me in on a few details the surgeon shared with her post surgery. There was a lot of muscle damage done by the bone fragments. There was also a lot of muscle (more than normal) for them to cut through due to my size. Because of the positioning of the break and the density of my bones they weren’t able to drill the 8th screw in so I only have 7. One of the nurses informed the doctor as they were closing the wound that the stabilizing bar showed chemical markers for spore contamination. She should have disclosed this an hour and a half earlier, but did not. This lengthened the surgery time somewhat as the surgeon had to call the CDC in Atlanta for advice. He may have had to undo everything he’d just spent five hours doing. They advised to close the wound and use heavier than normal antibiotic protocols to prevent infection. Later on a check of records determined that the bolt in question had been in the autoclave long enough that spore infection was impossible. The chemical markers themselves were faulty.

I spent several days and nights in the room with the fellow who’d had brain surgery. That was an unceasing adventure. He was deaf so he was loud and everyone who talked to him was loud (as if that would make him hear them). Everyone who walked past my bed to his somehow felt the need to bump into it. I found myself screaming “Hello, Back Surgery!” a couple times. After several sleepless nights (I got so tired of hearing him yell, “Do you have any idea who I am?”) they moved me to a private room on the other end of the floor.

I believe it was the day after my surgery that I got a visit from two Wildlife Officers following up on my accident. They had spoken to my father in law and had been to the site of the accident. They saw the branch that gave way and the distance I fell. Their assessment was that I was lucky to be alive much less walking. They took a full report and wished me the best of luck in recovery. It was a nice visit.

By the second day after surgery they had me fitted for a turtleshell brace and walking around the hallways in the hospital. It was painful at first but got easier. I’ll skip the description of the heroic efforts it took to get my bodily functions back under my control. Suffice it to say it was unpleasant. By Thursday and Friday they started talking discharge. They would have let me go home Friday night, but I was tired from walking and really just wanted to sleep. They postponed my discharge for Saturday. By 2:00PM Saturday I was headed home. I really was cursing the Governor for his repeated raidings of the highway trust fund to balance the state budget all the way.

Once home my progress has continued. I can now get myself out of my turtleshell brace on my own and can just about put it on independently. I have to do it by feel and it isn’t easy but it gives me a level of independence I just have to have. I still have to rely on my wife for help with bathing and some other personal care tasks. Hopefully those will become more independent as time wears on. I go back in Friday to get my stitches out and then at six weeks post-op for more Xrays and a checkup. Hopefully by then we can say bye bye to the brace. As it stands, if I’m not flat on my back I’ve got to be in the brace.

Through all this experience I have a newfound appreciation for the dangers of treestand hunting. I had a safety belt with me that day but never got into position to tie it off before I fell. If you’re going to hunt from an elevated platform, please use a climbing harness or be very careful when transitioning into your stand and getting settled/strapped in. I think I’ll be sticking to the ground for the immediate future. Bow season is out for me as is probably muzzleloader season. We’ll see how things go and I might be ready for rifle season in late Nov. I’ve still got a ways to go with rehab and healing before I can even think about getting back into the woods.

I happened to meet a couple fellow gunnies in the hospital though. My PT is a shooter and hunter. One of my neurosurgery team is a shooter and AR15 enthusiast. He told my wife he was going to write a prescription for a black rifle for me. It’s critical to my recovery. LOL.

This has been an ordeal, but as it stands I’ll get through it. To my fellow hunters please take this as a lesson. If you are already vigilant about treestand safety please continue to be. If you are somewhat lackadaisical, like I was, then please reexamine your practices before something like this or worse happens to you.

October 3, 2007, 02:26 PM
OH...MY...GOD!!! :eek::eek::eek: So happy to know you are going to be ok, sorry to hear about all you went thu...I will definitely be very careful out there....

October 3, 2007, 02:48 PM
One of my neurosurgery team is a shooter and AR15 enthusiast. He told my wife he was going to write a prescription for a black rifle for me. It’s critical to my recovery.

:D :D

Good write up and very descriptive. Sympathy & good wishes for a speedy recovery.


October 3, 2007, 04:38 PM
:eek: 'WOW' pretty much sums that up. I wish you the best of luck during your recovery. That is quite an ordeal for you and your family to go through. I am going to start deer hunting shortly and will keep this story in mind.


October 3, 2007, 04:40 PM
Wow! Sorry to hear of your ordeal - thanks for the good write up and your experience & advice.

I myself am a member of the metal club (got a rod & some pins in the arm) and remember the day it happened (Fighting a wild pack of Hell's Angels !! <cough> mountain biking) - begging and pleading for my water bottle... but nope. Even at the hospital whining for water - nope... I mean I was ready to fight someone if I didn't have to hold my broken arm with my good one for some water.. arghh.. And the morphine... yeah I've determined that stuff is pretty worthless. All it did was make me really, really hot and tired. Sure didn't do much for the pain, it just put my into a sweaty coma...

Here's advice from the 1000th person - work yourself raw in rehab. Easy to read, hard, and incredibly painful to do in real life. While it's nice being helped by, and getting sympathy from all the pretty nurses/ physical therapists, it doesn't do any good. I should have worked far more harder in rehab to get more of my strength back, it took over a year mainly because I started riding again, not because I went to the gym like I should have been doing.

Anyway, for whatever it’s worth, that’s my advice... kinda of like military training for real life - "The more you bleed in training.... " – now just apply it physical therapy. ;)

October 3, 2007, 04:50 PM
You made me laugh and wince with pain all at the same time. And you certianly have made the case for the safety harness!

Thanks for sharing the agony and best wishes for a successful recovery.

October 3, 2007, 05:28 PM
Red get well soon dude

WildouchAlaska TM

Greg Bell
October 3, 2007, 05:35 PM
Get better soon buddy. I appreciate you taking the time to write this for us. Some of us need a little reality break every once in a while.

October 3, 2007, 06:38 PM
Been there, done that, only from 10 feet up and I was lucky. I walked away.

Red, Godspeed on a speedy recovery. And do what I do now, stay away from treestands. Tripods and gound huts/blinds......hpg

October 3, 2007, 09:37 PM
DDDOOOMMMMMM. Now everybody knows why I quit climbing trees a few years ago. Man, what a story, and glad to hear the prognosis is good. Hope you get a TRICKED OUT TACTICOOL BLACK RIFLE after all that, brother! Get well, and keep us up to date. Better days will come. CB.

October 3, 2007, 09:44 PM
Glad you're ok dude. It sucks you had to go through it, but at least you'll still be functional.

October 3, 2007, 10:04 PM
Wow ! What a nightmare. Sounds like it's a miracle you're still with us, let alone walking. Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Hang in there.

October 3, 2007, 10:06 PM
wow, sorry to hear that, hope you get well soon.
I am teriffied of heights, when I was little I fell off the top of this huge slide.
They can build you stronger, faster

October 3, 2007, 11:44 PM
I'll say a short prayer for your recovery. You're blessed to have lived and I am thankful for your story, too. Instead of a statistic, you get to tell us all about the ordeal. Glad you're still with us. No dying without permission!

October 4, 2007, 04:48 AM
Prayers for a speedy and full recovery. Glad to hear that you didn't lose any function. God Bless.

Billy Sparks
October 4, 2007, 06:30 AM
Good to hear you are doing well. What county did it occur in?

October 4, 2007, 09:52 AM
Good to hear you are going to recover, and that you will be able to hunt again. Sorry that this had to happen to you though. I wish you a speedy recovery and hope to hear of your future hunting trips.

October 4, 2007, 10:26 AM
Wow... just wow.

I am glad you will recover.

October 4, 2007, 11:38 AM
Good to hear you are doing well. What county did it occur in?

Orange Co., North of Hillsborough

October 4, 2007, 08:17 PM
I'm just in shock & awe of this happening. That's insane. Couple inches or couple more foot-lbs of impact energy and you'd be paralyzed. I'm very glad you're going to recover. Hope that goes well. Also glad you shared it as a warning to all; thanks.

So, don't take this the wrong way...

OK, class, what part of "Always Use a Harness" did we not understand? :p :)

October 4, 2007, 09:39 PM
glad you made it through ok brother!

October 4, 2007, 09:48 PM
You did good. Not too long ago I read about a fellow falling asleep in his stand and falling out. He broke his back as well but ended up paralyzed.

Thanks for sharing your experience. Maybe it will help someone else be a bit more careful.

October 4, 2007, 11:25 PM
That is somethin else my man its a good thing you had a phone on you and people looking out for you or things wouldve been pretty bad.

Heal up quick eh.

Billy Sparks
October 5, 2007, 06:39 AM
RR, just curious I know several of the medics that work in Alamance.

October 5, 2007, 09:24 AM
I'm always the most nervous climbing up and down those stands. Now I'll be even more nervous.

Thanks for sharing the story, I'll try to be even more cautious, and I'll pray for your speedy and full recovery. Try not to get too discouraged during the recovery, and work hard in physical therapy.

October 5, 2007, 03:18 PM
For me the most dangerous part is transitioning from the top of the climbing sticks, positioning myself ONTO a strapon stand - that can be precarious. Once I get more than 6 or 7 feet off the ground, the harness is on the tree, on strapon & climbing stands. I'll admit that on large 2-man buddy stands, I do not use a harness at all, either climbing or when on top - ladder stands are far safer than a climber or a strapon with sticks or steps.

October 5, 2007, 07:47 PM
Thanks to all for the kind words of encouragement. I'm up and about more the last couple of days. I went to the Spine Center at UNC today to get the stitches out and all is well so far. The incision is healing well with no signs of infection. I go back in a month for another set of Xrays and at that time they'll make the call on whether I'm healed up enough to go back to work and to shed the brace. I'm a desk jockey so work should be a go at that point. I may still be in the turtleshell though. Damn thing is hot is my only complaint. But hey at least I'm alive to complain right?:D

October 5, 2007, 09:39 PM
RR, just curious I know several of the medics that work in Alamance.

Yeah, my wife knew half the ones who came out to get me that day. Went to high school with them. :)

October 5, 2007, 10:59 PM
Hey Rant when I get down to NC to see my mom, lets go hunting :)

WildfeeelingbettertodayihopeAlaska TM

October 6, 2007, 09:45 AM
Sounds good to me. Hope you don't mind but I won't be repeating my skydiving act. :)

I asked at the doctor's office yesterday when I could head back to the range. I got dirty looks from both the doctor and my wife when I started quoting recoil energy tables. :(

October 6, 2007, 01:14 PM
Thank you so much for the story...very well written and quite descriptive. I am really sorry about what happened to you. You went through a lot .. and for something that you love doing. You're story actually brought a tear to my eye thinking about all of the pain you went through.

I haven't actually gotten my new treestand yet (was going to within a few weeks) and ALWAYS planned to use a harness NO MATTER WHAT... this story just seals in my intentions.

Please get well soon and my thoughts and prayers are with you. Hopefully you will make a full recovery and can get back out in the field SOON. I recommend that Black Rifle for the most complete recovery, too. ;)


October 7, 2007, 10:02 AM
I got tired of just carrying my little .32NAA whilst out and about the last couple days. I'm more used to a the comforting weight of a .45 on my hip. The trouble is the turtleshell brace I have to wear comes down past my hips and makes belt carry of a weapon impossible.

I went to Gander mtn. last night and purchased an uncle mikes belt slide nylon holster and adapted it to fit the velcro straps that hold my turtleshell back brace in place. I am now back to normal in terms of my daily armament :D.

My wife was perplexed as to why I was doing this. I reminded her that now more than ever I would be unable to fend off an attack without a defensive firearm. I also reminded her that criminals tend to prey on the weak. The walker I've been using the last week makes me feel like a gigantic target.

October 10, 2007, 11:42 PM
Thats too bad what happened, Its good to hear your recovering well. Good luck and happy hunting!


October 11, 2007, 07:32 AM
Here's wishing you a speedy recovery. Share the story with as many people as possible man. Hunter/treestand saftey cannot be stressed enough.

October 16, 2007, 04:37 PM
Consider yourself blessed, and Thank God that you are not paralyzed. It truely is miracle you aren't paralyzed or dead. Hope you get better soon...

October 16, 2007, 04:42 PM
The walker I've been using the last week makes me feel like a gigantic target.

Mount a GE Minigun on the walker:D

WildthatsokinmybookforopencarryAlaska ™

October 16, 2007, 07:08 PM
Now that made me laugh so hard I'm hurting now. LOL. But it was worth it. I'll make a tactical walker that will rival the tactical wheelbarrow. :D

October 16, 2007, 07:12 PM
I will say though that I am using the walker less and less each day. I had it with me at the Lexington Gun show on Sat (yeah I'm feelin that good that I'm hittin the shows :)) but that was just cuz I expected a lot of walking. Around the house I don't have to rely on it at all. If we go into a store like Walmart or Target I'll get one of those little old fart carts and cruise around on it. I usually get funny looks at 34 asking to use one unless I leave the top of my button down shirt open just enough for them to see the back brace. As if the limp isn't enough :rolleyes:

Either way like I told WA in a PM a little while ago, they've changed my pain meds to milder versions and I'm as comfortable or more without as much of the narcotic side effects. Hopefully in a few weeks I'll be back to normal. Or as normal as I started anyway.

October 16, 2007, 07:19 PM
Or as normal as I started anyway.

Thats better than me I started out abnormal and have been going down from there!

WildwaynerooneyisgodAlaska ™

October 16, 2007, 07:40 PM
Quote:" fart cart" I just about busted a gut on that one,:D I'm careful about stands, not real crazy about heights anyway. But i also use a branch to lift my ass up into the stand, sorry this had to happen to you and hope you heal quickly. I'll have this on my mind everytime i grab that branch, better yet, i'll come up with something better. Gods speed

October 16, 2007, 07:43 PM
If I were you I'd stick one of those screw in steps in in place of that branch. That's what I plan to do the next time I'm able to use that stand. I also plan to get one of those prussic knot type harnesses to use whilst climbing too.

October 16, 2007, 07:47 PM
Quote:" fart cart" I just about busted a gut on that one,

Did you know the weight limit on those things is 650lbs??? I didn't either till I started using them here lately, but I kinda figured it was pretty high from previous observations of their use. ;)

October 16, 2007, 07:55 PM
On Sunday my father in law wanted to go out to check his bait stations (yes hunting over corn piles is legal in NC and we do it). Especially this year with the drought, there's just not much food around for the deer. He had put out corn with some of that c'mere deer stuff on it a week prior. There was a hole dug in the ground already where the deer were after that stuff. I had a timed feeder near the stand I fell from and I wanted to yank the batteries on it so the motor wouldn't burn up while not throwing any corn (I knew it had to be empty by now). We went out to the area. Had a nice chat with the landowner who was very happy to see me up and around. He's a real good fellow.

After we checked my father in law's stations and I went to pull the batteries on my feeder for now I walked over to the stand I fell from and just looked at it. Standing there looking up at that height and where and how I landed I almost started bawling. I started thinking about my wife and kids and what it would be like if I had left them that day, and never got to see my daughter and son grow up or missed out on the joys of growing old together with my wife. It was very emotional. I feel like a very lucky and BLESSED man. I got a second chance at life. It could have been over for me that day, or it could have been very seriously altered. It really makes you think.......

October 17, 2007, 07:43 PM
Man, that really does make you think and impart a new perspective. So is it safe to say that the backpack you had on is the difference between being paralyzed or not?

October 17, 2007, 07:58 PM
It's hard to say whether it protected me or actually did damage. It's more like one of those waist packs that has shoulder straps too so you can carry more. In the pack were a flashlight (Gerber Carnivore), A 32oz bottle of water, an FRS radio, and a simple safety belt (non-harness type) that I have traditionally used in that stand. Hard to say whether landing on that stuff did the breaking or maybe padded my landing from other stuff that was already on the ground. I had just rebuilt my stand last year and had left a small stack of 2x6's and 2x10's (short pieces of each) at the base of it for any further needed repairs. I landed on at least one board from that stack I think.

Overall it's hard to say whether the pack protected me or did damage. Who knows?

I just started getting EOB statements from my insurance company today on what it cost to put me back together again. So far the EOB's are adding up to just north of 111,000.00 for my little slip. Luckily I've got a 3K out of pocket maximum per year that I'm responsible for. I think I'm gonna hit it shortly. Not quite there yet.

October 20, 2007, 07:30 PM
Glad you are still here with us. The main thing is you kept your composure and was able to use the cell phone that you had taken on your hunt. I usually try to keep my cell phone (in vibrate mode) in my shirt pocket, just in case something happens. We all try to think that it will not happen to us but bad things do happen to good guys. Hang in there and get well soon.

October 20, 2007, 07:52 PM
You are one of us and our hearts go out to you. Thanks for the info. I will be more careful next time I go.

October 20, 2007, 08:08 PM
Thanks guys. I'm up and around more and more each day. A little more sore today for some reason than the last couple days, but overall the progress is in the right direction.

My father in law and I have been hunting partners for 10 years or better at this point and we always both carry FRS/GMRS radios and cell phones. I couldn't get to my FRS radio that day as it was in my pack and I couldn't reach it due to the pain of the injury. Luckily my cell phone was in a case on my belt at about 10 o'clock so it was easy to reach. I was so out of it, though, that as I was thumbing through my saved numbers I couldn't find his. Thus me calling my mother in law first (and being thought a pervert :)) and then my wife, who eventually reached my Father in Law and EMS.

One of our normal practices as we leave each other in the morning or evening to head to our stands is to give it 30 mins and key up each other to make sure we made it up into our stands OK. By "Key up" I mean click your FRS radio Key twice and then the response is 2 clicks in return. If you have the right radio and keep the volume low this just gives a small static sound twice. It's just another way we keep tabs on each other.

Needless to say, even if I hadn't got hold of my cell phone my father in law would have been concerned soon at me not keying him back and would have come to check on me pretty soon.

October 20, 2007, 09:05 PM
I am sort of new here but I am glad you are okay. I do have a question please don't think me to be rude but I live in FL. and have been looking at buying a treestand and was wondering which type is the best the Lockon or the Climber?

October 20, 2007, 09:49 PM
They've each got their plusses and minuses.

Lockon/Chain on:

Can be used in trees that aren't totally straight and limbfree
Can be locked in place and left behind without too much worry of theft

Harder to set up initially
Comfort is usually less than a climber
Usually no rail around it.
A bit harder to use the lineman's style harness all the way up. At some point, when transitioning into the stand from the steps you'll be off harness for a minute, unless someone else has figured this out better than me, yet, and if so please elaborate.


Easy to set up and get up the tree
Comfortable for all day hunting (I've sat in one for 8 plus hours before)
Usually has a rail around it for improvised rifle rest, security/safety, etc.
Easier to use a lineman's style harness from the time your feet leave the ground till the time you return.

Easier to steal if you decide to cable it to the tree and leave it behind (I usually do this though).
Usually heavier, though there are some nice lightweight models out there.

I have several of each and use them in different areas and situations. Some locations require one or the other, depending on circumstances.

October 21, 2007, 08:30 AM
I have been using my harness this year. Mainly because I have a climber.

During Bow season, I use someone else's (with permission) ladder stand. I don't feel 100% comfortable up there, it is a small seat and no rails.

What I have done to simplify the harness situation is to cinch a line around the tree. The line is long enough to touch the ground. At the end of it is a clip to bring up my bow. The line itself has a prussic knot on it.

When I get there I clip my bow on, and I clip my harness to the prussic knot. From there it is a simple matter of climbing it, sliding the knot as I go, and bringing my gear up next. The line gets coiled and put on a hook up there. I stay attached the whole time.

You can do the same with a lock-on.

October 21, 2007, 06:40 PM
Ladder stands have spoiled me. I have not used a climbing stand in about 3 or 4 years now. Real nice and safe to just scurry up the ladder and sit down. Oh yea by the way I still us a safety belt in the ladder stand.

October 23, 2007, 09:49 PM
I know what you mean by second chances, it's nice to know they are there for some of us. I (long story) also have had a second chance and it makes you look at things a whole lot diffrently, good and bad! $111,grand...ones life is worth every penny of that and more. ENJOY, you'll pay more attention to sunsets, family, and more. Glade you got to stay with us, and thoes around you...cherish everyday because LIFE IS TO SHORT-even with second chances!

October 25, 2007, 12:27 AM
Just a general update as to how things are progressing.......

Last week I had been feeling pretty good and then over the weekend took a pretty good downturn. Spent most of Sat and almost all of Sun in bed or on the couch asleep and well drugged.

Parts of my back that have been numb since the surgery have started "waking up" and they are not waking up on the right side of the bed. My pain kinda came back with a vengeance. Monday was a little better but still rough. Yesterday was OK. Today I'm feeling pretty good. Hopefully it's all forward progress from here. I have completely abandoned use of the walker at this point. I'm not even using the old fart carts in walmart anymore. :)

I've still got some shallow tissue numbness in my lower back and right leg which feels kinda strange, but doesn't affect any movement or function. I can live with it if it stays that way. If that's all the numbness I'm left with after falling that far I call that pretty damn lucky.

I'm going to start doing some work from home tomorrow. Got some financial reports for the company that I can do here. The company Pres doesn't trust anyone else to do them right other than me or herself and she's up to her ears at the moment. It at least gives me something to do and will let me save some of my dwindling leave time. I probably will head back to work part time the first week in Nov. and then back full time after my appointment on the 16th.

November 16, 2007, 07:37 PM
Went to the Neurosurgeon this morning and to get Xrayed.

I got clearance to go back to work full-time, shoot (whatever I feel up to shooting) and hunt. Basically said that my hardware is pretty solid by this point and it would take a pretty major catastrophe to undo it.

Went to the range this afternoon and shot .243 Win benched (turned in a sub-1" 5 shot 100 yd. group using Win ballistic silvertips :)), shot 12 ga slugs benched and standing/free hand, 12 ga 00 buck freehand, .45ACP and .380.

No problems or pain at all. I feel semi-back to normal now.

Well as normal as I started anyways. :)

November 16, 2007, 07:54 PM
Glad to hear you're back at it. Good work.

November 16, 2007, 08:02 PM
I got clearance to go back to work full-time, shoot (whatever I feel up to shooting) and hunt.Glad to hear it.

November 18, 2007, 09:20 PM
Sweet! You've still got time to get a deer, no?

November 19, 2007, 09:28 AM
Yep, our gun deer season here in NC extends to the 1st of Jan. Plenty of time left. I'm off for Thanksgiving starting Wed, and will hunt Wed-Sat. Will also be off for about a week and a half from just before Christmas to just after the first. Will hunt most of that too. Plus Saturdays in between.

The doc said no climbing for this year, so I'll be using ground blinds only and not any of my stands. A fall this early in the healing process could be bad. Next year I'll be able to be back in a stand though. I will also be harnessed the entire time I'm off the ground!!!

January 26, 2008, 07:52 PM
I'm going to update this thread one last time for 2 things:

First of all, last weekend one of my nephews finally got around to taking his hunter's safety course. During the section on treestand safety, guess who they talked about.......... :o . Yep, they told the story of the guy who broke his back falling out of a tree in Orange Co.... Of course, my nephew spoke up and said proudly, "Hey that's my uncle." Then the Wildlife Officer (who was one of the ones who came to see me in the hospital) asked about my condition, to which my nephew replied, "Oh he's back to normal, well as normal as he started anyway" :).

Second, and more importantly, I went for my three month checkup yesterday. Though it was really four months post accident. The holidays threw off the scheduling some. My Xrays were great. Everything is healing nicely. My neurosurgeon said my recovery thus far has been remarkable and he no longer needs to see me. Usually they follow fusion patients for a year, but he's satisfied with my progress and is releasing me. When I asked about any restrictions to my activities or precautions, he said "Live your life like you never hurt your back".

That all being said, I'm still wearing a harness :). Be safe folks.....

January 26, 2008, 08:28 PM
So glad to hear about your recovery. Your one of the lucky ones that will be able to hunt and do normal activities. I think sometimes we all take life for granted and don't realize how easy we can get hurt until something does happen. Good luck to you and lets look forward to deer season 2008...:)

January 26, 2008, 10:38 PM
That's one helluva read. Congratulations on your recovery.

January 28, 2008, 01:06 PM
RR - Thanks for starting this thread and keeping it up. Glad everything is going well.

Sometimes we get lax on things. I got my first ticket in over 20 years this weekend. $97 for not having my 6-year-old in a booster seat. He was in the back seat, with a seat belt, but no booster. I was ticked off at first, but rereading your thread reminded me that something can happen in the blink of an eye and there is no going back to un-do a lapse in judgement.

Good hunting!

January 28, 2008, 04:31 PM
Scary stuff buddy, I'm glad it looks like you'll be ok.

Falling out of trees is one of the most common form of hunting injury.

January 29, 2008, 07:15 PM
Came down from one 5 or 6 years ago (12-14 ft., Top rail on newly built ladder stand was only secured with one 6 penny nail). I had a M94 Winchester slung diagonally across my back, and I landed flat on my back. To make it short, I only had soft-tissue damage, no breakage. I was almost scared to try to move my legs. They did work fine, and as soon as I could, I got on my knees. My friend, we are both truly blessed! :)

February 4, 2008, 08:49 PM
..............I contacted the hunter's education coordinator for this area the other day. I've volunteered to start speaking at hunter's education classes on the dangers associated with treestands. The local instructors all have my contact info now and I'll probably start speaking in March/April. I've also signed up for instructor certification this summer and will then be a volunteer instructor.

Hopefully I can use this story to prevent others from doing something like I did..........or worse.