Recovering After a Tree Stand Fall

Annually, more than 200,000 hunters set their sights on a deer during Illinois's hunting season. Michael Block is one of them.

"I've only ever shot one buck. It was a 12 point buck," said Block.

But on October 26, 2016, Block became one of the statistics of hunters injuring themselves by a falling from a tree stand.

"As soon as I hit the ground, I knew it was bad. I knew that I had to start taking action," said Block.

Last year, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources said there were 25 hunting incidents reported, 15 of them involved falls from tree stands.

As of a few weeks ago, there were 25 incidents reported this hunting season, this time 20 of them included falls, one of them fatal.

"They need to be cognoscente of tree stand safety, which is to wear your harness when you're up in the tree and make sure their straps, their chains, their pegs are in working order from year to year," said Joe Cochran of the Illinois Conservation Police.

Although Block fell nearly 15 feet, his injuries weren't life threatening. That's something he knows to be incredibly lucky.

"The minute that gravity took hold of the situation, you know, 15 feet, 200 plus pounds, it goes pretty quickly. However, there is a lot of, believe it or not, time in your brain for it to do the whole 'life flashing in front of your eyes' type of thing," says Block.

He's turned that fall, into a lesson. Block said he'll always harness himself in while in a tree stand. Luckily, for Block, he's able to learn from his mistakes. That's something he's very thankful for.

"I'm literally the lucky one out of this whole thing," says Block.

Doctors said block was incredibly lucky. He had a broken shoulder blade and a broken hip, but he didn't suffer any neck or head injuries and left the hospital after 24 hours. IDNR said these falls are what they hope to prevent, by spreading the message to properly use harnesses when using a tree stand.