The Herald Bulletin

November 21, 2013

Editorial: Hoosier deer hunters must not underestimate dangers

The Herald Bulletin

---- — Deer hunting can be dangerous for more than just the deer.

Whenever a sport combines outdoor conditions, tree climbing, loaded firearms and large mammals with antlers, human practitioners face grave danger, as well.

Hunting season opened last weekend across the Hoosier state, and already one hunter has died after falling from a tree stand. Timothy Bowers, 32, of Decatur, fell 16 feet Saturday and suffered injuries that left him paralyzed. The next day, he elected to be taken off life support.

Bowers left behind his new wife, pregnant with the couple’s first child. His story is a tragedy to all who knew him and to the brotherhood of deer hunters across the state.

There are many lessons to be learned here, not the least of which is the importance of making your wishes known, in the event that you should be placed on life support. Otherwise, loved ones can be left to guess whether you would choose to live, and that can tear families apart.

Other important lessons springing from the Bowers tragedy point to the need for great caution and preparation for deer hunting.

Already this year, at least seven Hoosier hunters have fallen from tree stands, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources. Last year, 28 falls — one fatal — were recorded. In 2011, at least 22 deer hunters in Indiana fell from tree stands.

Other dangers during deer season abound. Fatal accidents can easily occur when armed hunters cross fence rows or when their guns discharge accidentally. There’s also the danger of one hunter mistaking another for a deer. While a deer attack may seem far-fetched, a buck with a large rack poses a legitimate threat.

While Bowers’ death is tragic, perhaps some good will come from it. It’s a painful reminder that deer hunting can turn deadly for the hunter.

In summary The tragic death of an Indiana deer hunter points to the need for great caution among hunters.