State conservation officials are urging deer hunters to take safety steps in wake of a hunting accident in extreme northeastern Nebraska.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission reports 44-year-old Todd Church of Gretna fell from a tree stand northeast of Obert in Dixon County Tuesday afternoon, suffering injuries to his pelvis.
Game and Parks says Church had just climbed into a hang-on tree stand when a ratchet strap failed. The stand platform dropped. Church fell about 17 feet.
Church used his cell phone to call another hunter. He was taken by Wynot Fire and Rescue to Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City, Iowa.
Game and Parks says deer hunters who use tree stands should use a fall-arrest system. A fall-arrest system uses a full-body harness to keep the hunter safe.
Game and Parks says the Treestand Manufacturers Association (TMA) and Tree Stand Safety Awareness Foundation reports falls from tree stands account for 36% of all hunting accidents and are the top cause of serious injury and deaths during deer hunting season in the United States.
Both fall-arrest systems and tree stands should meet TMA standards. Tree stand hunters should always use a fall-arrest system rated for his or her weight.
In addition, hunters should:
— be sure their tree stand is in proper working order,
— unload firearms when climbing into and out of tree stands,
— use a haul line to raise and lower gear into the stand,
— and maintain three points of contact when climbing the stand.
For information about hunter safety or hunter education courses, visit outdoornebraska.ne.gov/hun