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Big Game Alaska Bear Deer Whitetail

8 Scariest Moments in Hunting

by Bob Robb   |  December 19th, 2011 10

When hunting, I am often reminded of one of Gen. George Patton’s more famous quotes: “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other guy die for his.” We’re not afield to kill or maim ourselves, instead to kill an animal. Yet every year unwitting sportsmen and women get themselves into pickles that can, and sometimes do, end up maiming or killing them.

While I have not yet been killed myself, I have been maimed more than once and terrified a lot. In no particular order, here are eight of my scariest moments in hunting.



  • David

    Several years ago I slipped while climbing a smooth bark tree just as I was getting ready to settle in for opening morning of the Missouri gun season. I was in a climbing stand and one of the teeth that grips the bark on the seat section either bent under my weight or broke clean off. Me and the stand dropped about 20 feet down the tree and when I cam to rest I took all of my weight on my left hand, well at least my left thumb anyways. I tore the ligament that holds your thumb to your hand right off of the bone and wound up having surgery to reattach it including a pin run through my thumb bone for several weeks while the healing took place…….luckily I was able to get a camoflage cast and even though I shoot left-handed I was able to kill a deer later in the season. I have been up in climbing stands since then, but I am always nervous going up and down even with a safety harness on. I prefer to hunt of out ladder stands or use a climbing stick and a lock on now just to be on the safe side, and I tend to stay lower down as well just in case something does break and I take another ride.

  • david johnston

    ive been hunting from tree stands for years,I use to carry a tape measure with me.and found out from trial and erera that at 14ft on level ground deer rarely will pick you out, im not atarid of heights but why not mimimize the risk of [death]ps I use grollia safty harness dave/morgantown pa.

  • Robert

    I agree with the danger associated with climbing trees. Now I prefer to climb exclusively with a Lone Wolf hand climber. It is the most study of all climbers. I also attach a safety line to the tree with a 4 point safety harness and slowly move the attachment up the tree as I climb. I prefer to never go unattached while off the ground. There are too many family and friends that I can affect if I get hurt or killed.

  • David A

    On Nov.4 of this year as I was "departing" my fixed position stand after a five hour vigil my stand gave way and I fell 24 feet to the ground below. When I hit the ground with a "crack" and a "thud" I thought to myself….OUCH, that kinda hurt!

    As dusk turned to darkness I awoke to coyotes howling and "something" hovering directly over my head….it was my treestand. The ratchet strap had somehow managed to wrap around a limb on it's way down….thank god fore it certainly would have left a mark on the ol' "noggin"!


  • David A

    Slowly I "wiggled" both my fingers and then my toes and they all "worked", I immediately "sprung" to my feet and accessed what happened….the ratchet strap had broke on the stand and I had "beat it" to the ground, it somehow got wrapped around the limb and "stuck" on its way down, I had landed on a broken 6" diameter limb that lay directly underneath the stand "crack", the 'thud" of course was me hitting the ground and landing on my bow….

    I reached down and grabbed what was left of my bow and un-hooked my rope, searched for and found my cap (ten feet away!) and walked the half mile back to camp!

    The next morning I was back on a nearby stand for yet another exciting "experience" in the DEER WOODS….NO inuries or broken bones on this guy, just fond and "not so fond" memories while afield.

  • Bigdaddy

    I am going to the hospital tomorrow for my buddy's 2nd surgery on his ankle. The strap on the top set of climbing sticks broke as he made it too the top (24ft.). He doesn't put his harness on till he gets in the stand. Makes you think twice about the things you do to save time and/or aggravation

  • Kathy HILSTAD

    when watching your program on Dec.20/11 my husband and I where very upset at the fact that at the beginning of your program you where sighting in a crossbow using a doll. This is a human type figure and we have always raised our children and grandchildren to never aim a weapon weither real or not at a person.

  • Dhoovak

    Two years ago I was getting into my climbing stand about 30 minutes before first light, and my boot hit the side of the stand while I was getting in, throwing me backwards onto to the ground. I remember falling and thought I got up immediately. However, I had no idea where I was or how I got there and it was full daylight when I got up. After about 10 minutes I still had no idea where I was but just knew my stand was on the tree and decided to climb and see if it would come back to me. After another 20 minutes or so in the stand, I noticed a bright-eye I had placed in a tree, then another and finally things came back little by little. Eventually I knew where I was but still wasn't sure what had happened. About an hour later I shot a deer and a friend came to help me drag it out. Later that evening I discovered a knot on the back of my head. I must have been knocked out cold for 30 minutes or so after the fall. Since this was during the rut, I'm sure glad I didn't have any doe pee scent on me!

  • Dhoovak

    After reading a few of these posts, I have a suggestion for everyone who climbs. I recently bought a Tree Spider which is a strap coiled up in a device that slowly lowers you to the ground in the event of a fall. It costs about $50 (a lot less than the cost of a surgery or a funeral). It's a one-time use item then must be replaced. It hooks up betweeh the tree strap and the harness strap and is not too large or heavy. I've used it many times now and it provides a bit of assurance. Hopefully I will never need to replace it because I will never use it, but as the saying goes – "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." It's available from amazon, ebay, cabelas and other outdoor sites and made by the scent-blocker folks.

  • Delmarva Hunters

    Tree stand falls definitely have to be my worst fear while hunting. I always wear a safety vest and have it strapped to the tree while even climbing up and down.'s very own Leslie Miller posted about the thing that scares her most while hunting. Check it out here:

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