Two serious tree stand accidents
Two serious tree stand accidents over the weekend have Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) hunter safety staff reminding hunters to wear a safety harness when using a tree stand.
On Saturday, Pace resident Anthony Eddie Vanna, 33, died after falling from his tree stand in the Blackwater River State Forest near Munson. Vanna was muzzleloader hunting for deer when he fell 23.5 feet. He apparently was attempting to come down the tree at sundown.
The previous day, Susan Rudd of Quincy fell backwards off a 12-foot tall ladder stand while hog hunting on private property in Gadsden County. Although injured, she managed to walk out and call for help.
Rudd was Life-Flighted to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and admitted. She has since been discharged from the hospital.
FWC law enforcement investigators say neither hunter wore a safety harness.
Bill Cline, the FWC’s section leader for hunter safety and public shooting ranges, said anyone who hunts from a tree stand should wear a safety harness.
“If you’re going to leave the ground, you need to wear a full body harness. If a hunter isn’t willing to do that, they need to stay on the ground. It’s that simple,” Cline said.
Hunters who use older tree stand belts or upper-chest straps should discard them, Cline said. He encourages hunters to visit MyFWC.com/HunterSafety and take the free online tree stand safety course.