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Hunting Tree Stand Injuries on Rise, Doctors Say

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Doctors say there's more to hunting safety than gun safety alone.
Doctors say there's more to hunting safety than gun safety alone.

Mercy hospital physicians tell KOLR 10 that they've seen an increase in tree stand-related injuries. Last year, they treated 12 falls -- that's eight more than the year before.

"An increased number of people are utilizing climbing tree stands, so it's just like if you see an increased number of people driving, you're going to see an increased number of accidents," hunter Bob Moentmann said.

Dr. Brian Tibbs said having the right equipment is key.

"And that you are actually using that equipment," Tibbs said.

Tibbs said the consequences are serious and could lead to long hospital stays, or injuries with life-long affects.

"Broken leg, broken ankle, broken spine, broken neck, punctured lung from rib fractures, all kind of nasty things," Tibbs said.

According to Tibbs, it's important for hunters to be especially careful on the way up and back down the climbing tree stand.

"Most of those injuries occur while they're climbing in and out of the tree stand, so it's very important to use a harness while you're doing that.

That's a message Moentmann said other tree-stand users should heed.

"There are times you're like, I'm just going up there a few seconds, it's not going to be a big deal. That's all it takes is one accident. When you're the only one out in the woods, who's going to find you?" he said.

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