It’s that time of year again. The woods are full of hunters looking for that prize buck. But with all of those people carrying all of those firearms, a few unfortunate incidents are bound to happen. The majority of the time, however, hunting-related injuries don’t involve guns.
Take, for example, this story from the Palmetto State . . .
A South Carolina coroner’s office says a 66-year-old man died after he fell from a tree stand while out hunting.
The Spartanburg County Coroner’s Office identified the man as Douglas Parton and told the State newspaper he was about 32 feet (10 meters) above ground while hunting on Monday.
Dr. Charles H. Cook is a trauma surgeon at the Ohio State University Medical Center and, I presume, a hunter. Reading between the lines of this 2010 story — Tree stands, not drunken gun-wielders, are the greatest threat to hunters — from the Los Angeles Times, it seems Dr. Cook got fed up with people suggesting that hunters were drunken louts with a tendency to get tanked and shoot each other.
Cook and his colleagues collected data from the two Level 1 trauma centers in Columbus, Ohio for a decade. They ended up with the profiles of 130 patients who suffered hunting-related injuries.
And the survey said:
Sixty-five of the injuries were falls, and 60 of those were falls from tree stands, where hunters would stand or sit in wait for deer or other prey. Of those victims, 59% suffered fractures and 47% experienced lower-extremity fractures; 18% suffered injuries to their heads. Surgery was required for 81% of the fall-related injuries and 8.2% of the victims suffered permanent neurological damage. Of the other falls, four were from ground level and one was from an elevated outhouse.
Yes, an elevated outhouse.
Other injuries included 10 from crashes involving all-terrain vehicles, five arrow wounds, three injuries from falling branches — those trees again — three burns, two wounds from assaults, one self-inflicted stab wound, one bicycle crash and two wounds inflicted by prey.
So . . . what about, you know, the guns? And booze?
Alcohol was involved in only 2.3% of the injuries and drug abuse in 4.6% . . . Gunshot wounds accounted for 29% of the injuries, and 58% of those were accidentally self-inflicted.
Long story short: be careful out there and use a safety harness, OK?