Hunters Pursue Pheasants
Inside the Outdoors, October 31
, 2014

Before I touch on this week’s subject matter, last week I wrote in detail what can happen in the event one falls from a tree stand and how the safety harness worn can be a detriment to one’s health.

In investigating the story, I wrote to the Pennsylvania Game Commission to ascertain statistically what facts could be reported to the readership. According to Travis Lau, “Unfortunately we do no keep statistics on tree stand falls,” However, I did hear from Andy Hueser, hunter education specialist, who disclosed some very interesting information written in an article titled, "Injuries Due to Falls from Hunters’ Tree Stands in Pennsylvania."

Written by Joseph L. Smith, MD, Eugene J. Lengerich, VMD, and Craig Wood, MS, they developed a study whereby they found that from 1987 through 2006, 2.73 people per 100,000 licensed deer hunters were injured from falls from tree stands. In that time period, seven people died. “Rates increased with age and were highest among hunters aged 40 – 49 years.”

It was concluded that, “Falls from tree stands associated with deer hunting are an increasing and important cause of injuries, especially older hunters.”

The study was very detailed. The researchers analyzed various aspects of the injured parties. For example, only four per cent of the fallen were women, most the incidents happened in archery/muzzleloader season, the time of the day was between 3 pm to 9pm and the majority of the accidents happened on a Saturday.

Of those who were hospitalized, most the patients arrived in less than three hours. They ended up either in the medical-surgical units or intensive care units (ICU). The majority of those whom were admitted to the latter died, the majority who had to be treated by hospitals were, on the other hand, discharged alive. Drugs or alcohol did not seem to play a part in the accidents.

Between the years studied, it was found that the year that produced the most injuries was in 2006, a total of 54 victims.

According to the article, “Commonly reported factors associated with falls are structural failure, slips while entering or exiting the stand, and falling asleep.”

It is important to note that “In 1999, the PGC incorporated tree-stand safety into their hunter-trapper education program that is mandatory for first-time hunters.” The three gentlemen disclosed that “Injury rates did not decrease after this change.”

Finally, “The results of this population-based study suggest that injuries from falls from tree stands are increasing with time and should be under routine public health surveillance,” it was
determined. _ _ _ _ _

Latrobe residents, Charlie Bizich and Steve Gordon, recently hit pay dirt when they traveled to Lake Erie to spend some time together doing what they enjoy best – fishing together not only for the fun of it, but for great meals, too.

This trip took them to Lake Erie where they found a point that juts out into the seemingly endless water. Using shiners, they both tagged smallmouth bass averaging 17 to 24 inches in length.

“It wasn’t just every once in a while,” stated Bizich. “It happened all the time.”

When asked how they achieved their goal, Gordon said, “We fished the bottom. That is where we found the big fish.” He added one comment that typified his personality. “There were some kids nearby, so I let them reel in some of our fish. It was sure fun to watch!

But that’s not the only place Gordon motored to last week. First, it was Lower Twin Lake. He landed beautiful crappie, trout, perch and large bluegill on one lure in particular – the white Trout Magnet. “If one learns to fish it right, one can pull in a fish every time he casts out,” he said.

Other anglers shared that Joe Flies, silver Kastmasters and Berkley’s scented worms work well, too.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In as much as pheasant hunting got underway Oct. 25 and will run until Nov. 29 in many of the area’s surrounding counties, hope has reached a new level. The PGC stocked 220,000 birds statewide. That ought to provide promise to many small game hunters that this year there is a very probably chance that one may get one of these beautifully-feathered game birds.

The PGC stated in a press release that 103,540 roosters were released and 82,190 hens. “There will be an additional 6,620 hens allocated for release for the late season.”

In an article written in Outdoor Life by Don Nelson, he suggests the following tips for pheasant hunting:

  • Go alone with a dog
  • Bear the cold
  • Find big cover
  • Know where the birds will escape to and put yourself there
  • Hunt evenings. That is prime time
  • Hunt upwind. This will help the dog with scenting.
  • May these all be a help to the sports-minded

May these all be a help to the sports-minded.


- Paul J. Volkmann
Contact me by email

To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.