Teenager Paralyzed in Hunting Accident

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by WDJT Editor

WAUKESHA -- A teenage boy is paralyzed after a hunting accident on opening day. The DNR recommends a safety measure that might have prevented the crippling fall.

On opening day of gun deer hunting season, 13-year-old Talen Jourdan of Deerfield headed into the woods with his dad. He set up on a stand nearly 20 feet high, a place his father says Talen has hunted from since he was four years old. Family friends tell us what happened next could change Talen's life forever.

"He got dizzy and fell on his head," says family friend, Becky Sanoy.

"He has a broken rib, broken collarbone and a broken vertebrae," added another friend, Tina Addison.

Talen's dad says his son is now paralyzed from his mid-section down.

On Sunday, family friends wore shirts in Talen's honor at a race in Waukesha. Thoughts of the teen pushed them to the finish line.

"He is an athlete. He is a quarterback. He is a star basketball player. He skies, wakeboards. He is a very strong kid," says Sanoy.

The Deerfield community is rallying around Talen as he recovers in the hospital in Madison. His father says he wishes Talen wore a safety harness.

Harnesses are not required and many hunters don't bother, but the DNR encourages people to use them.

"We strongly recommend that you have that safety harness on because if you get thrown off balance or whatever the case is, if you don't have that harness on, you can have some significant injuries," says DNR Conservation Warden, Matt Groppi.

The store manager at Gander Mountain in Waukesha, Tim Hollfelder, says the vests are gaining popularity among hunters.

"They've really caught on probably over the last five years. People are taking being in a tree more seriously. Even though tree stands are getting to be better quality, more and more people are buying harnesses."

Talen's father says the stand his son used had railings, but unfortunately, Talen still slipped through. His friends and family stay hopeful Talen will walk again.

"His spinal cord was not severed and so there is hope that that can heal when the swelling goes down. That's what we are all hoping for. We are all praying for him and that he will get that function back," says Sanoy.

Talen's fall is reportedly the second serious accident involving a hunting stand this season.

Shawn Lemanski, 41, of Grafton died after he fell from a tree stand opening weekend.

Deer hunting season came to an end Sunday at sundown.

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