A hunting trip turned into a dangerous 200-foot tumble and then a daring rescue in Sumner County last weekend.
Jim Early was looking for a deer near White House, TN, but ended up on his back, unconscious and unable to move after accidentally driving his four-wheeler off a cliff into a ravine.
It took hours for rescue workers to pull him to safety.
Early has been hunting for nearly 40 years, but even the best can run into trouble in the woods.
"I guess when I started off that pretty steep hollow, with all the leaves, the traction broke loose, and it started sliding. I don't know beyond that. I know it crashed," Early said.
Early and his friends had gone hunting Saturday on his property off Garrison Branch Road. At one point, Early thought he had shot a deer, but it was too dark to tell. So, the next day, the hunter went out alone looking for the buck on his four-wheeler.
It wasn't long before Early lost traction and began tumbling 200 feet before landing on his back.
"I sorta have a vague memory of the bike coming up and throwing me over the handle bars," Early said.
A cell phone helped save his life. He called his brother-in-law, Pinky Amons, who rushed to the scene.
"When I saw him, I realized there was no way to get him out without help," Amons said.
Help came from all directions. Rescue crews from Gallatin, Cottontown and other nearby communities lined the hollow, sending ropes and blankets down to keep Early warm and to get him out.
Early was on his back for three hours until EMTs got him out, using ropes, a gurney and lots of ingenuity.
"They were a great bunch of guys, and I thank them all from Cottontown and from Gallatin. I told one of the EMTs, 'you be sure the other guys get the word I appreciate very much what they did for me,'" Early said.
Now, Early is at home nursing lacerations on his head, sore ribs, a busted right leg and other bumps and bruises. But, most importantly, he is alive, and grateful to be out of that cold, dark place.
Early's prognosis is good, and doctors feel he will recover from his injuries.
As for the deer he thought he shot and had gone back for, no one has seen hide nor hair of him.
Copyright 2012 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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