More hunting accidents involve tree stands than guns in Tennessee

(WSMV file photo)

Deer hunting is a popular sport in Tennessee. But every year, nearly a dozen hunters find themselves in the emergency room after falling out of tree stands.

The number of hunters who fall out of tree stands is about four times the number of hunters who accidentally shoot themselves or other hunters.

One hunter knows firsthand what it is like to fall 20 feet to the ground out of a tree.

Scott Warrick has hunted Middle Tennessee's woods for more than 25 years. It was nearly a decade ago when one hunt nearly killed him.

“I always thought it would never happen to me,” Warrick said. “The day I fell was the first time I put on the safety (harness) system. I climbed up in the stand, went to hook my safety belt, (then) dropped 20 feet."

Warrick said he was hunting out of a homemade tree stand that broke from under him. The scars of his injuries remain.

Each year, roughly a dozen hunters fall out of tree stands, or a tree falls on them. So far this year, nine of these accidents have occurred.

“We're up to nine (accidents) and gun season, the most popular season, hasn't even started yet. This year we've had a couple people already paralyzed from the waist down because of it,” said Caleb Stratton, an officer with the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency.

Warrick said he now teaches other hunters the importance of proper restraint systems.

“There’s some people out there that's paralyzed, there's some people out there that didn't make it. I feel extremely lucky,” he said.

TWRA encourages hunters to not use homemade tree stands. They say hunters using tree stands should invest in a safety harness and make sure to use it when climbing up into the tree stand. And always let people know where you are hunting.

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