DNR Investigates 3 Falls from Tree Stands

tree stands

Tree stand safety is on the minds of Iowa officials after three hunters were recently injured in separate incidents.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is reminding deer hunters about tree-stand safety after three recent reports of serious injuries from falls.

The tree-stand falls occurred in Linn, Clayton and Adair counties within days of each other, according to the agency. None of the injuries were considered life-threatening.

On Oct. 29, a 51-year-old Palo, Iowa, hunter received serious neck and back injuries when he fell backwards while climbing out of his stand in Linn County. He landed on his back 20 feet below the stand. A friend found the man two hours later and called 911. The hunter told investigators that the tree-stand fastener came undone.

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On Nov. 4, a Dubuque hunter, 45, sustained injuries to his jaw and lower body after he fell from his stand in rural Clayton County near Garber, The DNR said the anchor strap failed on the hunter's hang-on platform stand, and the man also was not wearing a safety strap.

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On Nov. 5, a Winterset, Iowa, hunter, 58, was found by first responders on the ground 20 feet below his tree stand. The man was conscious but in pain, and he was later airlifted from a local hospital to Mercy Hospital in Des Moines. Investigators believe the stand was loosely hanging by the bottom strap.

The DNR reminds hunters of the follow safety tips for tree stands:

  • Always use a full body harnesses and remember to maintain three points of contact at all times when climbing in and out of tree stands. 
  • Tree stands should not be left up year round and should always be inspected for safety prior to the hunting seasons. 
  • Hunters should always use a haul line when getting equipment in and out of the stand.

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