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DNR investigates three tree stand falls

  • 11/7/2017 11:35:00 AM
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Palo, Iowa:

On Sunday, October 29, 2017 around 5:15 p.m., Jeff Pavek, 51, of Palo, Iowa, was injured while bow hunting near Ross Road in Linn County, when he climbed out of his tree stand and fell backwards approximately 20 feet below, landing on his back.

A friend found Pavek nearly two hours later lying face down on the ground and called 911. He was transported to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Pavek received serious neck and back injuries from the fall, but is expected to survive.

According to Pavek, the fastener came undone, causing him to fall to the ground.

Garber, Iowa:

On Saturday, November 4, 2017 around 7:05 a.m., Philip Patrick Rolfe, 45, of Dubuque was injured when he fell approximately 20 feet from a tree stand while bow hunting in rural Clayton County near Garber.  

Rolfe was taken to a nearby hospital and eventually transported to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Rolfe received injuries to his jaw and lower body.

Through investigation, it appears that Rolfe had climbed to the top of his hang on platform stand when the anchor strap failed causing him to fall.  In addition Rolfe was not wearing a safety strap.  


Adair County, Iowa:

On Sunday, November 5, 2017 around 6:30 a.m., first responders found Jeffrey S. Newman, 58, of Winterset lying at the base of his tree stand at the end of York Road in Adair County, near the Middle River.

Newman was conscious, but in pain from the 20-foot fall. He was transported to a local hospital and then by medical helicopter to Mercy Hospital in Des Moines.

Through the investigation, it was determined the stand was loosely hanging by the bottom strap.

Safety Reminder:

The Iowa DNR reminds hunters of the following safety tips related to tree stands:

  • Always use a full body harnesses and remember to maintain three points of contact at all times when climbing in and out of tree stands. 
  • Tree stands should not be left up year round and should always be inspected for safety prior to the hunting seasons. 
  • Hunters should always use a haul line when getting equipment in and out of the stand.