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Michigan Fall Hunting Season Safety Tips

a young buck outdoors during Michigan fall hunting season

The Michigan fall hunting season is underway now for the bow and arrow hunters, and most hunting statewide is allowed from November 15-30. Falling from a tree stand is one of the major causes of hunting accidents.

Dr. Alan Lazzara, IEP Emergency Physician at Henry Ford Jackson Hospital & Hunting Safety Expert said a review of five years of hunting-related visits shows hunters are two-to-three times more likely to be injured by a fall from a tree stand than from a firearm. Injuries often happen when hunters are climbing up or down from the tree stand, resulting in serious leg fractures and spinal cord injuries.

“Every fall we see people falling out of trees,” Lazzara said. “We see about six to seven falls per year that present to the emergency department at Henry Ford Jackson Hospital, which doesn’t really seem like a very large number but a lot of these people are significantly injured.”

Lazzara said 30% of cases involve injuries to a person’s back or spinal column. Fifteen percent

include injuries to lower extremities like a broken leg or ankle.

“Both of which can be significantly devastating for somebody’s body, but also long term they’re going to end up with chronic back pain, have to do a lot of therapy and surgery, not to mention the multiple-day stay in the hospital or rehab,” Lazzara said. “We did see some spinal cord injuries as well. Most of those are permanent and obviously drastically affects somebody’s life.”

Dr. Lazzara created this graphic card with safety tips that he hopes the DNR will include with deer license tags that are issued each year.

Tree Stand Safety Guidelines for Hunters
Source: Henry Ford Jackson Hospital

Before climbing into your tree stand, make sure it is in good condition, is well-supported and is stable. Always use a harness.

Always have three points of contact with the stairs or ladder. This might be two arms and one leg holding the ladder and stepping on it, or one arm and two legs in contact with the ladder before advancing. Before putting your weight on the step, be sure it’s secure. Your gun should be unloaded when you lift it up with a cord.

In addition to these fall prevention tips, follow these guidelines for a safe hunting experience.

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

  • Pay attention to the wind direction and be aware of where other hunters might be positioned in relation to you.

  • Keep an eye out for any potential hazards such as loose branches or animals

  • Clearly identify your target

  • Know with certainty that no one is in your extended line of fire

  • Know your weapon

  • Always point the muzzle in a safe direction, even when unloaded

  • Don't use your scope as binoculars

  • Put down our gun when crossing a fence or obstruction

  • Don't trespass on private land

  • Carry a fully charged cell phone

  • And finally, Wear plenty of orange!

In Michigan, you are required to wear at least one piece of "hunter orange clothing.” We suggest you make yourself clearly visible with a hat and a vest or other orange outerwear.

Stay safe this hunting season!



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