The Herald Bulletin

December 6, 2012

Rick Bramwell: Treestand accident provides cautionary tale

— Last Sunday morning I saw a whole herd of deer, but they were too far away. While this has not been a good season for me, I still have late archery and muzzleloader seasons. What I am most encouraged about is another specie, I saw, on two legs.

Three weeks ago, I jumped a covey of 10 quail in my fence row. Last Saturday, Todd Staley and I flushed another covey about a mile from home. A local farmer knows of eight more coveys in the area.

Every Christmas I hear folks complain about how this holiday has become mostly about gift giving. I felt that way until I started taking Salvation Army tags off the Christmas tree at church. These tags have a no-name description of a poor child in need. Information about the age, gender, and clothing size is on the tag.

You will never meet this child, but rest assured because of your generosity he or she will have a Merry Christmas and so will you. And shopping for these kids will put you in the holiday spirit. Contact a local church or the Salvation Army at 644-2538.

Indiana conservation officers are investigating a treestand accident that occurred in Hamilton County on the evening of Dec. 2, according to the DNR. At 8:20 p.m., Officer Bill Doss was dispatched along with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department to a woods located south of East 281st Street at the intersection with Hartley Road. Officer Doss found Chris Elbrecht of Cicero lying unconscious on the ground below the treestand he had been hunting from. Elbrecht had fallen approximately 15 feet from the stand.

Elbrecht was treated at the scene by EMS and then airlifted by helicopter to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. He is being treated for serious injuries to his head, neck and torso, which were sustained in the accident. He is currently listed in critical condition.

Elbrecht was not wearing a safety harness at the time of the accident. His fall appears to have been caused by the fact that the stand he was in was improperly secured to the tree. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the accident.

Indiana conservation officers urge all hunters using treestands to wear a safety harness and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing treestands.

Also, conservation officers concluded a detailed deer investigation earlier this week for a trophy buck killed in Randolph County. After field officers began investigating reports of a poached buck, detectives from the Department of Natural Resources Investigative Section were called.

Following an interview, Austin M. Spain of Lynn admitted to illegally shooting a trophy 16-point buck during the Indiana firearms deer season the weekend of Nov. 17-18. The trophy buck is believed to score in the 180-range by the Boone and Crockett scoring method.

Initial information led investigators to believe the deer was killed in Michigan. Subsequent investigation by Detectives and Michigan conservation officers found Spain had not purchased a deer license nor did he have documentation for possession of a deer from Michigan. Additional research found the trophy at a taxidermist’s shop in Eaton where it was seized.

Spain is facing multiple charges for illegally taking, possessing, transporting and tagging the buck.