Hunter in York Co. doesn’t use safety equipment, ends up breaking bones

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HANOVER, Pa. -- One hunter from Hanover learned the hard way not to take shortcuts while hunting for deer in York County.

Rodney Markle, 64, has been hunting for more than 50 years. He retired in June and was ready to relish in his retirement by doing what he loves.

"I thought this was going to be the big year you know I can go out there and sit all the time and just take my time and enjoy it. But it didn't work out that way," Rodney said.

He decided to go bow hunting in Jackson Township, York County, with his son for deer. He didn't have a safety strap for the tree stand he was planning to use but was eager to start. He tied a drag rope around the tree instead and sat in the stand for four hours.

Rodney said, "I was sitting there and I thought oh I'm going to stand up for a little bit, and I stood up, and I heard the snap break."

This was the first time he was in a tree that didn't have an approved safety strap attached. His son, Josh Markle, was hunting nearby and heard a swooshing noise.

Josh said, "And then within a second or two, I heard him groan and I knew what happened."

Rodney thought he was fine but soon realized he could barely walk.

He was taken to the hospital. He had four broken ribs, a torn rotator cuff, a broken shoulder blade and a fractured vertebrae and pelvic bone.

But he is expected to eventually make a full recovery.

Right after his father's accident, Josh was hesitant to go back and hunt from a tree stand.

Josh said, "I got to the base of the tree and that was pretty much the end of it. Couldn't do it. Couldn't go up the tree. It was a lot of emotions and mixed emotions. I had all the safety equipment I needed. It was just - I didn't want to do it."

But Josh said he eventually did return and was more successful.

Rodney said he hopes his story encourages other people to always make sure they have the proper safety equipment.

Rodney said, "It only takes one time and that drag rope that I tied around the tree I thought would work, that didn't even slow me down."

He said he won't attempt to go back up in a tree stand to hunt until at least next year.