Blake A. Havard, 25, was hunting deer on private property east of Centerville when he fell approximately 17 feet from his tree stand Tuesday morning. Havard had a crossbow in his hand and then began to descend when he slipped on the first step of his ladder stand and fell to the ground where he landed on his backpack containing antlers and calls. He was not wearing a harness a safety harness at the time he fell.
Havard was airlifted to Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines where he was being treated for bruises as of late Tuesday afternoon.
??He (Havard) was very lucky. He landed on his backpack and could have been impaled by the antlers,?? said Megan Wisecup, supervisor of recreational safety for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
There have been three personal injury falls from tree stands reported so far this year, but it is believed that there are many more that don??t get reported.
??We recommend that hunters always use a haul line to pull up their gear and unloaded their firearm or bow to the tree stand once they have reached their desired hunting height. Never climb with anything in your hands or on your back. Prior to descending, lower your equipment on the opposite side of the tree,?? said Wisecup.
Wisecup said hunters should never hurry when getting in or out of a tree stand and to climb with slow even movements of no more than 12 inches at a time making sure that proper contact is maintained with the tree or tree stand while moving. Be aware of slippery surfaces due to dew, rain, or frost.