MU Health concerned about rise in number of falls from tree stands

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COLUMBIA – MU Health is urging safety when hunters are using tree stands during this hunting season.

The trauma team treats between 40 and 50 patients from hunting-related accidents each year, MU Health officials said. Most come from tree stand falls.

The trauma team has treated about five patients this week due to falls from tree stands, according to Jeff Hoelscher, a spokesperson for MU Health.

Trauma surgeon Jacob Quick said “A lot of people think that most accidents come from firearm injuries, but that’s not the case, most of them are falls.”

Quick is a hunter and uses tree stands himself.

Most accidents happen because hunters are failing to correctly harness themselves to trees when using the stands, or they decide to not use a harness at all, he said.

“About 80 percent of people who fall weren’t wearing anything,” Quick said. “People tend to think that they’re very uncomfortable. That’s not really the case. The old harnesses were more cumbersome, the newer ones are comfortable and easy to put on.”

Jesse Thompson, an avid hunter who manages at Bass Pro Shop, said it’s important to know the equipment before using it.

“A climbing stand is something that, if you’re not prepared to use or don’t know how to use it, it’s not something you want to try during a hunt or during low-light hours and you’re not ready,” Thompson said.

Deer hunting season using firearms will begin on Nov. 11. Bow hunting season started Sept. 15.