Hunting Fatality In Bishopville

BISHOPVILLE — A Selbyville man reportedly fell to his death from a deer-stand in a rural area near Bishopville in northern Worcester County on Tuesday morning, becoming the first deer hunting fatality reported in Maryland this year.
According to Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP), Richard F. Jenkins, 76, of Selbyville, left his home around 6 a.m. on Tuesday to go to his deer-stand on Delaware Rd. in Bishopville about four miles away. When his wife had not heard from him later on Tuesday afternoon, she contacted a family friend to go check on him. The friend found Jenkins on a concrete pad near a chicken house where the victim had set up his deer-stand.
The friend called 911 around 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday and NRP officers along with Bishopville Emergency Services and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office responded. Jenkins was declared deceased at the scene, the victim of an apparent head injury likely caused by a fall from the stand, according to NRP Public Information Officer Candus Thomson.
According to Thomson, the stand was a manufactured two-piece apparatus with a ladder leading up to an elevated platform. The stand was set up next to a chicken house and the platform stood about 11 feet from the ground. About nine feet up the ladder, a rung that had rusted through was broken, suggesting Jenkins likely fell from near the top of the ladder before he reached the platform.
Thomson said investigators found Jenkins’ muzzleloader hanging from the ladder, suggesting he was following the accepted safety protocol of not climbing up or down a tree stand or deer stand with a weapon. However, he was not wearing a safety harness.
Thomson said Tuesday’s incident in Bishopville was the first deer-hunting-related fatality in the early part of the season in Maryland. Thus far, there have been three reported and documented cases of falls from tree stands or deer stands in the state. There were no fatal hunting-related falls reported in Maryland last year.
Tuesday’s incident provided an opportunity for Maryland NRP to remind deer hunters across the state of deer stand and tree sand safety. The stands are among the most popular pieces of equipment used by hunters, but they can also be dangerous and even deadly if they are used incorrectly or carelessly. In addition, hunters sometimes fall asleep in their stand, or the stands can be a factor in other hunting accidents when a weapon is accidentally discharged when a hunter is climbing up or down from a stand.
NRP advises hunters to never carry weapons or other equipment when climbing. Instead, they are advised to use a haul line to raise or lower gear. Make sure guns are unloaded and broad heads are covered prior to raising or lowering firearms or bows with a haul line. Since most accidents occur when hunters are climbing up or down, always use a safety belt or harness when hunting from elevated stands.
Hunters are urged to check permanent deer stands every year before hunting from them and replace any worn or weak lumber. Read, understand and follow factory-recommended practices and procedures when installing stands and inspect portable stands for loose nuts and bolts each time they are used.
Choose only healthy, living trees when using climbing devices. Rough-barked trees such as oak are best. Do not use a tree that is rotting or has dead limbs. Never put all of one’s weight on a single branch and keep at least one hand and one foot on a secure place when reaching for the next hold. Always tell a dependable person where you are hunting and when you plan on returning.