Hunting AccidentIndiana Conservation Officers are investigating a tree stand accident that occurred about 5:15 Saturday evening October 22nd in Marshall County.  Mark Miller, age 44 from Elkhart was preparing to hunt from an elevated tree stand before falling nearly 20 feet to the ground.

Emergency personnel from multiple agencies were on scene to assist with transporting Miller out of the woods.  Miller was taken to South Bend Memorial Hospital with leg and chest injuries.  Miller was not wearing a safety harness at the time of the accident.

Falls from tree stands are the leading cause of deer hunting accidents in Indiana, accounting for almost half of all accidents.  Many occur while a hunter is ascending or descending from the stand.  With deer season upon us, Conservation Officers offer several safety tips while hunting from an elevated position.

Hunters should inspect their tree stands and hunting equipment to ensure they are safe before using.  They should also only use a tree stand that had the approval of the Treestand Manufactures Association (TMA) and make sure to read the manufacturers warnings and instructions before installation.

Hunters should wear a full-body, fall arrest harness system that meets TMA standards.  Single strap and chest harnesses should not be used.  Never leave the ground until the full-body, fall arrest harness system is on.  Always have three points of contact with the tree when climbing and descending.

A hunter should never climb with anything in his hands or on his back.  A haul time should be used to lift a gun, a bow or other gear into the stand.  Firearms on a haul line should be unloaded with the action open and muzzle pointed downward.

Other safety tips including hunting with a buddy, telling someone the exact location of your tree stand before heading into the woods, getting a full night’s rest before a hunt, and making sure a cell phone, whistle, flare or some other signal device is on your person at all times.  Most cell phone calls to 911 can get a GPS location and assist emergency personnel when responding to remote areas.  A free tree stand course is available online at