Deer hunter survives terrible fall - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Deer hunter survives terrible fall

Justin Lanclos of Sulphur shows how high up he was in a deer stand when he fell from the tree. (Source: KPLC) Justin Lanclos of Sulphur shows how high up he was in a deer stand when he fell from the tree. (Source: KPLC)
SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) -

Fall in Southwest Louisiana means one thing for many lovers of Sportsman's Paradise: deer season.  

It is a self-proclaimed obsession for one Sulphur man who is having to sit this season out after a terrible injury.  One mistake grounded him and taught him a huge lesson in hunter's safety.

Ask 34-year-old Justin Lanclos what gets his blood pumping and he will answer without hesitation:

"Hunting is what I think about all year long," said Lanclos. "It's a hobby, it's an obsession, it's my passion."

That passion is a family affair, particularly with Lanclos' son, Carter.

"I've changed his diaper in a deer stand before," he said.

It was in July when Lanclos and Carter were deep in their deer lease, putting the final touches on a tree stand and clearing the lane for the upcoming fall hunts.    

Lanclos was 20 feet up in a stand when the next move changed everything.

"As I was transitioning from my stand to my climbing sticks, I grabbed a rotten tree limb and fell 20 feet," he said.

That fall knocked him out for a moment, then he came to and knew he could not move.

"I couldn't feel anything below my waist at first," said Lanclos.  "I told him (Carter), 'Okay, it's just my legs.'  I didn't want to tell him what I really thought it was.  I told him it was just my legs that were hurt."

But Lanclos knew it was much more.  Fortunately he had cell phone service to let his wife know what was going on and Carter to keep him alert.

It would take 2 1/2 hours to get out of the woods and to the emergency room.

"They had to cut my boots off of me, both of my ankles were swollen.  I broke the lower part of my femur off.  It was in eight to ten pieces.  That was replaced and I've got a fracture in my hip.  I've also got a labral tear in my hip that will have to be corrected through surgery," said Lanclos.

Even with all of those injuries, Lanclos' love for hunting has stayed strong, but he says his technique will undoubtedly change.

"I'll definitely be latched on the entire time," he said.

One tool Lanclos says he will never go hunting without again is a lifeline.  It is a $40 investment he says could have stopped his fall.

"This lifeline, had I had one of these before, would've saved my life," he said.  "$40 dollars instead of $40,000 in medical bills."

Lanclos' biggest lesson next to wearing a harness and lifeline every climb is to remember equipment is not perfect.

"Just because your stand feels safe doesn't mean it isn't going to break," he said.  "Don't put your life in the hands of a man-made piece of metal."

Lanclos does physical therapy a few days a week right now.  He hopes to be back on the stand next deer season.

You can follow his journey and connect with other bow hunters on his website, www.louisianabowhunter.com

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