|Todd Huckabee displays a fall crappie caught while on a Minnesota fishing trip.|
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
|Far more hunters are hurt in tree stand accidents than from mishaps with guns.|
While deer hunting is a relatively safe sports compared to others, there still are too many injuries -- most which could be easily avoided.
To the surprise of many, most deer hunting injuries are not caused by guns or bows. They result from accidents caused by improper use of deer stands.
There aren’t a lot of statistics on the subject--and it may be a bit hard to believe--but if viewed over a person’s hunting lifetime, a hunter has one chance in three of receiving a serious injury from tree stand use.
For as long as I’ve been aware of deer hunting with tree stands. the possible dangers associated with them have been in the back of my mind. However a number of years ago, the danger became impressed on my mind.
While visiting a patient in Indianapolis’s Methodist Hospital a number of years ago, a nurse became aware of my outdoor writing. She asked me if I had time to visit a couple of patients on another wing. “I know they would appreciate it,” she said. “Both are hunters.”
The nurse explained both were hospitalized due to unrelated accidents. Both had fallen from tree stands and both were at least temporarily, partially paralyzed from their falls.
Both hunters were upbeat about their situations, but both also wanted people to know about the dangers of tree stands, if proper caution isn’t used.
Already this fall, I’m aware of at least three serious falls in Indiana, and read that a Pennsylvania man died in a mishap.
It is difficult to know just how many hunters are injured every year. Not all accidents are reported, and not everyone who falls required medical attention. And, not all tree stand accidents are recorded as a category at hospitals. There also is no national collection of data.
A nearly 20-year-old study by a deer hunting magazine found that 37 percent of tree stand hunters some time will fall from their stand, and about three percent will suffer some sort of crippling injury.
Three-quarters of the accidents happen while the hunter is climbing up or down on the stand.
Also especially telling was that most hunters injured were not wearing a safety harness or vest.
Whenever a person uses a tree stand, they should be familiar with the equipment and associated safety. Most commercial stands come with instructions, and there also is a quick safety test on-line at www.huntercourse.com/treestandsafety. Also, Kalkomey Enterprises has an on-line hunter education course which contains a section on use of tree stands. (http://my.hunter-ed.com/studyGuide/index/course/201016). Check it out.
Here are some safety items recommended by the Pennsylvania Game Commission:
• Do not set up in a dead or dying tree because those are the unsafe tress. If the bark is already slipping off it it, don’t set up there.
• Read the directions before you put the tree stand together. Manufacturers know best about how to put your new piece of equipment together, make sure to follow their guidelines.
• Inspect the stand before you sit in it, especially, if it’s been sitting out all year and the season has just started. The straps should all still be secure and the nuts and bolts should be tight.
• Pay attention to the weather. If it’s too windy that day, it might not be a safe day to go hunting.
• Use a tow rope to haul up gear once you yourself are safe and secure in the stand.
• And last, but surely not least, wear a harness, the ultimate lifesaver. If you think a harness may be costly, think of the cost of medical care and time spent away from work.
And, the following are a couple rules, I would add:
• Always hunt with a plan, and if possible, with a buddy. Let others know your exact hunting location, when you plan to return and, who you are hunting with.
• Always carry emergency signal devices, such as a cell phone, whistle, walkie-talkie, signal flare and flashlight on your person at all times and within reach, even when you are suspended in your tree stand.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
|Rustic cabins at Cedars Resort are a good place to get away and enjoy the great outdoors.|
Some of the best vacation plans are impromptu, maybe no plan at all. Certainly planning can be beneficial, but sometimes it is fun just to do it, “go with the flow” as flow used to say.
For our 25th wedding anniversary, my wife, Phyllis and I had a well planned trip to Ontario, Canada. We visited three different fishing camps. It was a great trip. However, 25 years later, things were different. We had less coins in our pockets, less mobility in our bodies, and less time between doctor appointments.
We had planned to take a trip in June, but that didn’t work out. Then came July, followed by August, and finally September rolled around. There was a week on the calendar with nothing scheduled.
As to planning, we only knew we wanted to head north and we would like to spend at least part of the time in a cabin surrounded by the great outdoors.
Using the internet, I found Michigan’s Pure Michigan tourism site. It is a good site, packed with information on visiting the state whether you are looking for antiques, top-notch hotels or golf resorts, or looking for a northwoods getaway. Somewhat by accident, I found a link to Cedars Resort near the small community of Central Lake in the far northwest corner of the lower peninsula of the state.
It is not unusual to find a place that looks better on the internet than it does in reality. But, after talking with Jo Ellen at Cedars, I decided it was the place with a cabin in the woods on a lake for us. It didn’t disappoint. The cabin, the resort, and the owners were far better than I anticipated.
And, I found heading north after Labor Day, rates at most motels and lodges are less than summer season rates, and most places you visit are less crowded. There may be a few exceptions during peak fall foliage time. We also discovered some businesses close early for the season, and ferries on the lakes run less often.
On the way north, we had a late pleasant lunch at the Streamline Family Restaurant in Rochester, IN, and then spent the night at a local motel at Montague, MI, a pretty little town near Lake Michigan.
The next day we headed on up the west coast and stopped in Ludington to view the lake. At a lakefront park, we also found a dog park where our rat terrier Tyler could get in a run on the beach. Then it was on north to Central Lake and Cedars Resort.
Cedars has five rental cabins on one of several interconnected natural lakes, which eventually make their way to Lake Michigan. The lakes offer plentiful boating and fishing opportunities. Panfish probably are the primary target of most anglers, but there are walleye, northern pike and several area lakes contain muskie.
One of the other cabins was occupied by a pair of young men who specialize in muskie fishing. They primarily fish Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. In the Hoosier state, they concentrate on the Tippecanoe chain of lakes in the northeastern part of the state.
Cedars is centrally located between Traverse City and Petoskey in Antrim County. There also is skiing, snowmobiling, golfing, hunting, kayaking, canoeing, and lots of opportunities for exploring back roads and small towns as well as a large variety of shopping and restaurants.
The Cedars is operated by Chris and Jo Ellen Dick, who have been operating the resort for 14 years. Boats are included with the full-furnished cabins.
We enjoyed side trips to Traverse City, Torch Lake, Petoskey, Charlevoix, and a visit to a friend at Lake City.
As always, we found a wealth of god places to eat, including many locally owned family-type restaurants. One unique spot is the Front Porch in the village of Ellsworth (less than 400 people).
Several years ago the community’s only restaurants went out of business. There was no place for locals to gather for breakfast or lunch, no place for coffee drinkers to gather and discuss the happenings of the day.
So folks got their heads together and opened the Front Porch, It is a nonprofit that was opened by the local ministry. Only the cooks are paid, the rest of the staff are volunteers. There are no fixed prices and the foot is great. People pay what they feel they can afford.
Should you decide to visit Ellsworth and the FRont Porch, there is a wonderful shop across the street that features Michigan raised or built products.
The Junker’s trip was a pleasant getaway with very little planning. For the most part, it just happened. The weather was beautiful and nothing was more enjoyable than a sunset across the lake one evening after a rain. The sky was golden, and I was lucky enough to grab my old Nikon for a photo. It will be a lasting memory of a fun trip with wife, Phyllis, and our dog Tyler. And by the way, Cedars Resort is pet friendly.
If you go, possible websites:
Pure Michigan tourism: www.Michigan.org
Cedars Resort: www.cedars-resort.com
Front Porch: www.frontporchellsworth.org