Ollie hunter’s death follows tree stand fall

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OLLIE, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Law Enforcement Bureau is investigating a fatal fall Thursday from a tree stand in rural Keokuk County near Ollie.

Raymond Byers, 76, of Ollie was reported missing after he did not return home from hunting on his property during early muzzleloader season. The Keokuk County Sheriff’s office and local fire and rescue teams responded and found Byers deceased.

Investigators believe Byers fell from a tree stand he was using to hunt.

The DNR said it is investigating the fall, and an autopsy will be performed at the office of the State Medical Examiner in Ankeny.

The DNR reminds hunters of the safety tips of using tree stands:

  • Always properly wear a full body harness/fall restraint device.
  • Maintain three points of contact when you are climbing in and out of an elevated stand.
  • Always use a haul line to raise up and lower equipment to and from the elevated stand.
  • Stands should not be left up year round and prior to season you always want to check straps, buckles, climbing steps, etc. for wear and tear prior to set up and use.

A University of Wisconsin study of tree stand injuries from 1999 to 2013 found that 55% resulted in spinal injuries. Nationally, more than 80% of reported tree stand incidents involve hunters who were not using a fall restraint system.

Iowa’s early muzzleloading season closes Oct 25. Late muzzleloading season runs from Dec. 21 to Jan. 10, 2021.

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