Officer hurt in hunting accident - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Officer hurt in hunting accident

September 20, 2006

Lee County -- A well-known South Georgia Law enforcement officer underwent surgery again Wednesday afternoon for injuries he suffered in a hunting accident.

Thursday Frank Herndon fell and hung upside down from a tree climber for an hour and a half. As hunting season opens experts urge hunters to use proper safety equipment and extreme caution.

Many people know Frank Herndon as one of the Albany Police's original "HEAT Officers". He recently went to work for the Lee County Sheriff's Office.

Thursday Herndon was seriously injured in a hunting accident, when his tree climber slipped on a wet tree. Without a safety harness, Herndon hung upside down by his legs 20 feet off the ground for an hour and a half before he was found. Now he is suffering leg and internal injuries. Department of Natural Resources Sgt. Jeff Swift said "Falls from deer stands account for roughly fifty percent of our hunting accidents annually."

 During archery deer season, most hunters climb trees, presenting the biggest danger factor. Solo Archery owner Evy Sifford said "More than half of the bow hunters will climb rather than do a lock on."

 Rangers urge all hunters to use a Safety System when climbing. They feature a full vest that supports your entire upper torso, and a safety strap that breaks away slowly to lower you. Evy said "Whether you climb up 15 foot or 20 foot, you are still that high off the ground. You need to wear a safety harness. A good one."

 Herndon was not wearing his safety harness. Many hunters just use a waist strap, but Rangers urge you to get a modern harness unit, to prevent injury or death. Evy said "It might be a little bit of money. That particular system costs 100 dollars. But is your life not worth 100 dollars."

 Rangers also urge hunters to team up, and hunt with a buddy, so if there is a problem, there will be someone there to get help.

Herndon underwent another surgery Wednesday afternoon on his legs. He is expected to make a full recovery.

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