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Hunter dies after falling from tree stand

October 13, 2010 - A 63-year old Orion Township man was found dead just after dark on Oct. 7 after he apparently fell about 15 feet from a tree stand while deer hunting near Honert and State Park roads in Brandon Township.

Oakland County Sheriff deputies from the Brandon Township substation responded to a call from a hunting companion from Oakland Township who said the pair had walked about 100 yards from the roadway where they separated and hunted in different hunting stands. Just after dark the Oakland Township man returned to find the Orion Township man lying under his tree stand—his crossbow was still hanging above his tree stand. According to police reports, a safety belt was on the tree stand; however, it was unknown if the victim had used it.

Michigan Conservation Officer Sgt. Jon Wood, who is the hunter safety program supervisor, said the state does not keep statistics on injuries from tree stands.

"The biggest safety factor is using a fall arrest system or a full body harness," he said.

"The product goes on like a vest around the chest or torso of the hunter. The important aspect is it would not compress one area of the body in the event of a fall. The system is like a parachute harness if they slip out of the tree stand. The other key safety item is a haul-line to pull a weapon up in the tree—hunters should never climb up with a gun or bow in their hand." Just about any sporting goods store can provide products for hunting from a tree stand.

"After more than 14 years out in the field each year we are seeing more hunters using a harness of some kind," Wood said. "That aspect of hunters safety is part of the safety course required."

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