Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?

Bow hunter survives 22-foot fall from tree stand

September 25, 2011

By Lisa Reicosky, CantonRep.com

Dale Olbon said many things went through his mind Sept. 17 as he was falling headfirst, 22 feet from a tree stand. And none of it was good.

“I saw the ground coming, and I thought, ‘I’m dead,’ ” he remembers. “It all happened so fast.”

On Sept. 17, he traveled to a property in Rootstown to hang tree stands in anticipation of deer bow hunting season. “Hang-on” tree stands require the hunter to climb up a tree by various methods and strap a combination platform and small seat to the trunk. A typical standing platform is 18 by 20 inches.

A cameraman, Seth Spitale of Canton, filmed Olbon as he used screw-in steps, a safety harness and a lineman’s belt to climb a tree and hang a stand.

Olbon said he attached one stand, then pulled a second stand up with a rope to attach on the other side of the tree to be used for a cameraman.

“Everything was going fine. I checked the lineman’s belt. My feet were on the screw-in steps,” he remembers. “I heard a metal ‘ting,’ and the next thing I know I’m falling backward.”

He recalls trying to grab out, but says that the way he was leaning back into his belt made him go upside down almost instantly.

“I saw the ground behind me,” he said, along with his saw hanging on a branch halfway down, most likely the reason for the 51⁄2 inch gash in his head.

He remembers hitting the ground mainly with his shoulder. He also felt the blow on the left side of his head.

“I felt it, but there was no pain,” he said — at first.

Then came excruciating pain in his leg where something, possibly one of the screw-in steps, made a large V-shaped cut into his calf.

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