Hunting Accidents in the Tennessee Valley

Hunting is a popular activity in Tennessee, and generally a safe one. However, every year, a handful of people are seriously injured or killed in hunting accidents.

Accidents while hunting may involve the accidental discharge of firearms or crossbows, due to either inexperience or equipment malfunction. Occasionally, hunters using an all-terrain vehicle to access remote areas are injured when their ATV rolls over. But the most common type of hunting-related injury involves the use of tree stands – small platforms that allow people to hunt from an elevated vantage point – and some of those injuries are attributed to faulty equipment.

If you’ve been injured in a hunting accident, especially if faulty equipment was to blame, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. John R. Colvin has two decades of experience representing personal injury victims in the Tennessee Valley, offering clients the individual attention that’s hard to find at large corporate law firms.

Don’t wait to get help. Call us today for your no-obligation consultation at (931) 962-1044.

Tree Stand Accidents in Tennessee

According to the outdoor lifestyle magazine Field & Stream, a 10-year study confirmed that tree stands are the most common cause of hunting accidents. The study analyzed hunting injuries at two major Ohio trauma centers and found that half of all injuries occurred due to falling, and 92 percent of those falls involved tree stands.

One week into the fall 2014 deer season, Tennessee officials had received several reports of hunters being seriously injured in tree stand accidents. These accidents can occur for a number of reasons, such as:

  • Failure to read manufacturer’s instructions, or failure to use a full-body harness
  • Wear and tear on tree stand straps, bolts, or other components
  • Attaching a stand to a brittle tree
  • Weather conditions that make a tree or platform slippery
  • Climbing a ladder on uneven ground
  • Carrying equipment while climbing, instead of using a haul line
  • Exceeding platform weight limits
  • Structural failure.

When hunters take good care of their equipment and use it properly, they expect they’ll be safe while using a tree stand. But some widespread recalls of tree stands indicate thousands of hunters have unknowingly been at risk of injury.

In October 2015, on the same day, two companies issued recalls that applied to about 17,500 tree stands. Both companies had received reports of injuries that occurred when a cable assembly failed – one hunter suffered knee, wrist, and hip injuries, and another suffered a broken vertebra, fractured rib, and sprained shoulder.

Crossbows and Firearms

While crossbows and firearms cause fewer hunting-related accidents than tree stands, the results are more likely to be fatal. Sometimes, people hunting together may forget to hold their weapons in a safe manner or forget a gun is loaded, increasing the risk of accident or injury.

In some instances, weapons discharge without warning, because of a defect. In a three-month period in 2014, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced three recalls covering about 13,000 crossbows, due to reports that the weapons had fired unexpectedly. No injuries had been reported at the time.

Accidental shootings while hunting have declined significantly in recent decades, and an analysis of such incidents in Maine found a correlation between that decline and laws that require hunters to wear blaze orange clothing.

Tennessee law requires hunters to wear that color, with a minimum of 500 square inches visible on the front and back, and on their head, if they’re hunting big game (some exceptions apply, depending on the hunting season and type of game).

Blaze orange hats and outerwear help hunters identify when a moving object is a human, not an animal. Hunters that ignore clothing rules run a greater risk of being shot.

Responsible Hunting in Tennessee and Northern Alabama

A number of other factors could increase the risk of being involved in a hunting accident, such as:

  • Lack of firearms training
  • Unauthorized hunting on private property
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Recklessly driving an ATV.

Tennessee law requires people to take a hunter education course before hunting. The course is available at no charge or for a modest fee online and consists of about 10 to 16 hours of training and classroom participation. Students learn about subjects such as proper handling and loading of firearms and crossbows, marksmanship, tree stand safety, responsibilities while hunting, and survival skills.

Exercising caution when using equipment and understanding one’s responsibilities can help prevent hunting accidents. If faulty equipment or another hunter’s reckless behavior has injured you or someone in your family, we may be able to help you. Find out if you have a case. Contact us via our online form, or call us today to request a no-obligation consultation: (931) 962-1044.

Licensed to Practice in Tennessee & Alabama