On October 4th, 2002, I was looking forward to climbing my treestand for another great season of bow hunting for Michigan’s finest whitetail deer. My son, my father and I checked our radios and headed for our treestand blinds. That was the last correct thing I did that fateful morning.
Mistake #1: Since we hunt our own property, we’ve made a tradition of building our own treestands. You know, basic boards nailed to the tree with a platform 15-20 feet off the ground.
Mistake #2: I normally check this stand every pre-season without fail. For some reason, I guess I was too busy and missed the opportunity to do so this year before my first climb. I didn’t think too much of it. I’d been using the stand without fail for about the last 10 years.
Mistake #3: Of course, I decided to climb the stand, in the dark, without checking it first. Something told me not to, but my gut feeling lost out to my excitement.
Mistake #4: I have never worn a fall restraint or arrest system while climbing up or down a tree. I really never saw one available to me, and besides, I’ve been climbing trees since I was 7 why worry now at age 48.
Result: As I reached for the last rung on the homemade ladder to pull myself up to the platform, the board pulled off the tree. My feet were 8-10 feet off the ground. And as I fell out into space, a million thoughts went through my head.
The next thing that happened was I felt my left leg snap and my ankle shatter as I hit. After a few screams of pain and then a bunch more screams of anger, I got my wits about me and used my radio to call my son and father. Then the shock began to set in and the sweat poured out of me. Lucky for me, my father is a doctor. He was there in just a few minutes and helped me hobble into his truck for an extremely painful ride to the hospital.
Later that day I had surgery to repair the mess I had made of myself, but that was not the end of my problems. A day or so after the surgery, I became reactive to the drugs that I had been given and contracted what the doctors figured out a week later to be aseptic meningitis. Thankfully the doctors figured it out and got a handle on it before it overcame me completely.
Of course, with all this there was the lost work and income, medical bills of about $1400 after insurance of about $25,000. And, the fact that I lost a season of bowhunting and another season of my other favorite sport as a snow skier and instructor.
And this is why I set up SafeTree Hunt Systems. I hope that no one else has to experience what I have gone through. I do consider myself one of the lucky ones as well. Through my research into what I have developed now, I have also learned that everything I did on that fateful day was absolutely preventable
My passion now, is to make sure you know how to prevent this from happening to you
Thanks for reading my story.