Tree stand safety

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- You might think that most injuries dealing with hunting season come from gun incidents, but the Mayo Clinic Health System has seen more incidents with hunters falling out of tree stands than gun-related injuries.

"There are national numbers out there that say 1 in 3 hunters during their hunting career will fall out of a tree stand. They are actually pretty prevalent. Here, we see about 8 to 10 patients a year. Historically, they fall out of tree stands for various reasons," David Ciresi, a Mayo Clinic Health System's trauma surgeon, tells WEAU.

The reasons for falling may numerous, but the most common fix can happen before you step into the woods.

"So the story I get, not only personally but when I look at the data, comes with two questions: do you have a harness? Yep! Were you wearing it? Nope! And why is that? Well, it kind of gets in the way. (They have) a lot of excuses as to why that is."

Ciresi, an avid hunter himself, knows that carrying everything into the woods can be a hassle, but it still needs to be done.

"It's a pain. It's a little bit of a bother. You have to carry it all out there, but you're out there to have fun. How are you going to feel when you're in a wheelchair or how are you going to feel when you have a rod rammed down your femur? You have to think about that. No animal is worth that."

Ciresi gave WEAU a few tips to prevent tree stand injuries.

"The first is to make sure all of your equipment is new or up-to-speed and you've checked it that year, that fall. Not just an 'it was fine' or 'it was fine a week ago'. Do it every time you get in a tree stand. Having a fully functioning harness and not just a belt, but a 5-point harness, can prevent the injuries."

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