This Injures and Kills Hunters More Than Guns

Across Indiana thousands of licensed hunters go into the woods and fields in search of deer, turkey, grouse, squirrels and many other types of wild game. Most return safely. But for a small percentage the injuries are life threatening. Oh, it’s not animals versus humans or even a gun mishap that causes the injuries, it’s something most hunters don’t even consider when purchasing.

What is it you might be asking?

Well, it’s called a tree stand. Hunters use them so they can elevate themselves 10, 15, even 20 feet above the ground to see the animals below. The type of tree stand I’m referring to is actually a metal device attached to the trunk of a tree using straps and hooks. These tree stands range in price and design, but all serve the same purpose: to give the hunter a place to sit while observing the area.

Falls from tree stands now kill and injure more hunters than guns. In 2014, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources reported that of the 182 reported hunting accidents over a five-year period, 100 involved falls from tree stands.

The injuries from these falls can be devastating. A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin Department of Neurosurgery and the University of Alabama at Birmingham examined tree stand injuries from 1999 to 2013, and found that 55 percent resulted in spinal injuries.

Since 2000, there have been at least 14 tree stand recalls for cables and chains that snap, bad welds, pin breaks, and webbing problems. Hunters have reported frame failure, structural failure, platform detachment, foot strap connection weakness, weld fractures and bolts that break apart when weight is applied.

In November 2016, Summit recalled 270 Summit Explorer SD Closed Front Climbing Tree stands because a weld in the tree stand’s frame could suddenly break. In October 2015, Global Manufacturing Company recalled 5,300 of the model year 2014 API Outdoors “The Marksman” model climbing tree stands, following the report of one user who suffered a broken vertebra, fractured rib and sprained shoulder when the cable assembly released and led to a fall.

Sadly, most of the recalled tree stands were manufactured in China, then sold across the United States at major outdoor equipment retailers or imported through a menagerie of U.S. companies. What’s mind-blowing is that some of these companies appear in public filings to be related. This means that a single manufacturer could be supplying different importers with the same basic tree stand that is branded under different names in the U.S. This means if the manufacturer uses sub-standard materials or poor assembly practices, the failures can appear unrelated, because the importers’ brand name and model names may be different.

So why do I share this with you? I share it to give you an insight into the world of hunting injuries caused by defective product. Like many consumer products, tree stands are only subject to voluntary regulations, although there was an attempt in the early 2000s to place the platform devices under federal standards.

On a daily basis we are working to help someone injured as a result of a defective product.

Products liability law involves the legal theories of strict liability, negligence, breach of warranty, fraud, misrepresentation, and violation of the deceptive trade practice laws. From a consumer standpoint, these cases generally concern whether appropriate warnings were given to users or consumers of products. Also involved are issues with placement of warnings, appropriate content for operating equipment manuals, appropriate design requirements, necessity for inspection or testing, compliance with statutes and regulations, and determination of recall or retrofit advisability.

The Law Offices of David W. Holub is a personal injury law firm located in Merrillville, Indiana, focused on providing efficient and effective client-centered representation. Our mission is to provide top quality legal representation, which includes an uncompromising pursuit of our client’s legal interests, while being accessible and attentive to our clients during times of personal challenge.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of negligence or product failure call one of our attorneys today at (219)736-9700

The firm concentrates in personal injury cases of all types, medical malpractice, and wrongful death litigation. We work tirelessly to serve each client aggressively and with empathy, to communicate regularly and clearly, and to obtain prompt and favorable results, while adhering to the highest standards of excellence and integrity. Our team considers it a high honor to be called upon to serve our clients whom we often come to regard as our friends.

For additional information and resources:

Check out our “Fighting For Truth: A Trial Lawyer’s Insight Into What It Takes To Win” book.

Or listen to our podcast “Personal Injury Primer”, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law.


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