The Tyler County Sheriff's Office worked with other first responders to rescue a deer hunter who was stuck upside down, 18 feet up in a climbing tree stand.
"They saved my life," said the hunter, who asked us to withhold his name, told KFDM/Fox 4.
Sheriff Bryan Weatherford tells KFDM/Fox 4 the hunter was rescued Monday afternoon in the Spurger area.
This is bow hunting season for deer hunters, with gun hunting beginning this coming weekend.
Deputy Cory LeBlanc with the Tyler County Sheriff's Office tells KFDM/Fox 4 the hunter called 911 at about 4:25 p.m. Monday, saying he needed help getting down after falling out of his deer climb and becoming stuck upside down, 18 feet up in the climbing tree stand.
"He was trying to reach his hunting partner but couldn't," said Deputy LeBlanc. "He was able to call 911 and we made contact with him. His friend helped us reach the exact location. We had the Spurger Volunteer Fire Department, DPS, Texas Parks and Wildlife on the way, all trying to help."
Deputy LeBlanc says the hunter was in a precarious position, to say the least.
"He was high off the ground, with his right foot wedged in the framework of his climbing stand," said LeBlanc. "We maneuvered the Spurger VFD brush truck beneath him. The fire department and DPS Trooper Hunter Holloway got in the back of the truck to support his weight. He had another climbing stand attached. I climbed that one and freed his foot. They supported him and lowered him to the brush truck. We met the ambulance at a county road, but he didn't need treatment. It's a good thing his foot was wedged in between the framework of the climbing stand. It's my first time dealing with this type of thing, but it happens. It's not uncommon. My advice to hunters is that this is a prime example of the need to use a safety harness. He's lucky his phone didn't hit the ground. He'd been hanging long enough that his fluids and blood were rushing to his head. He'd been hanging an hour and a half. We got him down around 5:30 p.m."
We spoke with the hunter from Orange by phone Tuesday morning.
"Use a harness," is the advice he wanted to share with all hunters. "It was in my truck. I've done this all my life, fishing and hunting. I just got complacent."
He admits he's also very lucky.
"I was 18 feet up and my ankle was the only thing that was holding me up," he said. "I held my phone in my mouth. I knew if I dropped this, I'll die."
He says he could tell that all of the rescuers were in shock at the situation they encountered.
"We worked through it," said the hunter.
When he was safely on the ground, he teased the deputy and first responders about having to cut off his boot to rescue him.
"I told him he could get another pair at Walmart," said Deputy LeBlanc.