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
“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
“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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