A bow hunter was airlifted to Mosaic Life Care after falling from a tree Tuesday night in rural southern Buchanan County.
Emergency responders were called to a desolate portion of a bean field at 9:15 p.m. after the victim, described only as a 50-year-old white male from DeKalb, Missouri, was found by an acquaintance who began searching the area after he did not return from hunting.
The area in which he was found was at least a half of a mile off of Southwest Bethel Road north of DeKalb.
The Buchanan County Sheriff’s Department said it took volunteer firefighters from DeKalb County and Rushville 10 minutes to transport the victim to the waiting LifeNet Air helicopter.
While the man’s condition remains unknown, first responders and hunting experts agree that these types of accidents are becoming more common.
“You hear about people getting shot from time to time,” said Mark Vincent of J & B Outdoors in St. Joseph. “But probably the most common (hunting injury) would be from someone falling out of a tree stand.”
According to a Deer and Deer Hunting magazine, 1 in 3 hunters will fall. Vincent said hunters often use an elevated perch, or tree stand, to hunt from so they can stay above the deer’s eyes and nose. It’s not known what type of stand the hunter was using Tuesday night, nor the height from which he fell, but tree stands can be as high as 20 feet.
A safety harness is always recommended for hunters in a tree stand, but Vincent said many choose not to wear one.
“A lot of older guys like myself say, ‘It can’t happen to me, I’ve been doing this for a long time,’” said Vincent. “But accidents happen.”
In addition to using a safety harness, Vincent recommends utilizing rope to move equipment up and down the stand. And it’s vital to let someone know where you are hunting and when you are expected to return.