LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — It's deer season, and for many, the sport is all in good fun— but it can also be a dangerous game with hazards that can sneak up on hunters.
Those hazards include a danger that recently killed a man in Johnson County.
According to the Tree Stand Manufacturers Association, one out of every three hunters will have a fall from their perch in a tree stand at some point.
Last year, 26 people in Arkansas were hospitalized because of a hunting-related incident.
13 of those people fell from a tree stand and four of those falls were fatal.
"Every year, we will see a fatality [and] we will see a major injury caused by a fall from a tree stand," said Randy Zellers, Assistant Chief Communications for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
It's an unfortunate reality that Zellers said they've already faced this year.
"The hunter fell out of his tree stand [and] when he was found, he was at the base of the tree stand," Zellers described.
Investigators don't exactly know how, but they discovered a mistake that, time after time, has proven to be fatal.
"He was not wearing a fall arrest system or a safety harness," Zellers said.
Zellers is an avid hunter and he said that safety is a top priority for him.
The best way to prevent a potentially deadly situation on a tree stand, he added, is to follow a simple step.
"Wear a full body safety harness anytime they are using that stand and that is from the time they leave the ground until the time they get back on the ground at the end of the hunt," Zellers said.
He also mentioned that tree stand manufacturers include safety harnesses in the packaging.
No matter how many times you've been in the tree stand, failing to put on a harness and falling will catch you off guard.
"A lot of times, people will fall the wrong way [and] they'll fall on their head or neck or somewhere that causes serious injury," Zellers said.
Every year, Zellers said that 300,000 hunters go into the woods.
He hopes that each one will make it out with no injuries this season.
"Take the time to learn how to use the harness correctly and take the time to use it," Zellers said.