Birmingham Injury Lawyer Update: Unseasoned Hunters Most at Risk in Alabama Tree-stand Accidents
Hunting season is a time for many Alabama residents to take some time and enjoy nature and the out of doors. Residents of large cities, such as Tuscaloosa, Mobile, Huntsville and Birmingham, as well as smaller towns and communities, can find themselves a quiet place to hunt here as well as in nearby states. But as an Alabama personal injury attorney, I know that hunting does not come with a guarantee of safety.
Whether a hunter uses a bow, rifle, shotgun or any other weapon, accidents can and often do happen, even to seasoned hunters. Fatal or life-threatening gunshot wounds are common, as are “friendly-fire” incidents. Surprisingly, tree-stand accidents apparently take one of the largest tolls on younger and many times less-experienced hunters around our state.
According to a recent article, hunters between the ages of 15 and 34 years old are most likely to suffer serious injuries in tree stand-related incidents. Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for Injury Sciences provided data collected from the 2000-2007 National Electronic Injury Surveillance System established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
Based on their research, the center reported that the number of Americans engaging in hunting has remained stable over the past 10 years -- 12.5 million hunters were registered as of 2006. In the study presented online in the Journal of Trauma Injury, Infection and Critical Care, researchers reported that men were twice as likely as women to be injured in a hunting accident.
In this same study, the data collected apparently showed that there were 46,860 reported injuries related to tree stand use between 2000 and 2007. Of these injuries, the most common were fractures usually of the hip or lower extremities. Injuries to the trunk, shoulder and upper extremities were less common. Head and spinal cord injuries were even less common, but still frequent enough to be considered significant.
Hunters between the ages of 15 and 24 years old had injury rates of 55.7 per 100,000; those hunters in the 25- to 34-year age range averaged 61 injuries per 100,000. Hunters over 65 years of age had injury rates of only 22.4 per 100,000.
It has been suggested that younger hunters may have higher injury rates because they may be more willing to take risks. Additionally, they may have less exposure to safety information and spend more time hunting than older hunters. In any case, safety campaigns to remind hunters to use safety harnesses and to be certain that tree stand equipment is well-maintained could help prevent future injuries.
Young hunters most likely to be injured using tree stands, study says, OrthoSuperSite.com, January 4, 2010