Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Hunter rescued from tree

by HEATHER ROTH on November 12, 2012 11:15 AM

BRUSH VALLEY TOWNSHIP -- A Johnstown man spent more than an hour hanging upside-down from a tree Saturday evening after his legs tangled in a broken tree stand.

James Yoder, 63, of Johnstown, fell from his tree stand in a wooded area off Old Mission Road, Brush Valley Township, and was caught by his legs about 15 feet off the ground, according to reports. Pennsylvania State Police responded along with the Brush Valley Volunteer Fire Department and Citizens' Ambulance around 6:10 p.m. after a report of a man yelling for help from the woods.

Brush Valley Assistant Chief Al Pluchinsky said Yoder was hunting with a partner, who held his head up for about an hour and a half while calling for help but was unable to free his legs. A member of the fire department who lives near those woods and hunts in the area himself heard the calls for help and made the 911 call, Pluchinsky said.

Once firefighters arrived, Pluchinsky said it didn't take long to find the trapped hunter.

"We had a good idea because one guy in the fire department, he hunts the same area. He had a good idea where (the tree stand would be)," he said.

Firefighters removed Yoder from the tree. "We have not figured out how he did it," Pluchinsky said. "The stand actually broke, and that's how he got tangled up in it."

Yoder was transported to Conemaugh Memorial Hospital's emergency room, where he was treated and released, according to a hospital spokesperson.

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, hunters using tree stands should always wear a full-body safety harness; check the stand for missing or broken parts before each use; choose live trees strong enough to support the hunter's weight; always hunt with a partner and have an emergency plan in place; and carry a whistle or other signaling device in case of emergencies.

The commission also recommends using a haul line to bring gear up to the stand, and to have firearms unloaded and with the action open.

A 15-minute tree-stand safety presentation can be viewed at

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