Phone saved hunter’s life

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Perdido, Fla., man, who fell from a tree stand in the Conecuh National Forest, is recovering after using his cell phone to call for help Sunday.

Sheriff Dennis Meeks said the man, identified as 28-year-old Rudy Daw, was using a climber-type stand when he attempted to turn around to sit, lost his balance and fell more than 15 feet to the ground.

Meeks said Daw, who was deer hunting, was able to call 911 and remained on the phone until deputies arrived.

“Mr. Daw is a very lucky man,” Meeks said. “He had to have fallen in the only spot in the Conecuh National Forest that had cell service. All of us at the scene were amazed. If he hadn’t had that cell phone with him, things could have ended very badly.”

Meeks said Daw was located some 30 minutes after calling 911 because of quick thinking by law enforcement and emergency personnel.

“When deputies got the area, they started turning down forestry roads,” he said. “They would blow their sirens and air horns, and Mr. Daw would say whether or not he could hear them.

“Using that system and once they located the general area, Sgt. Larry Smith and Deputy Paul Adams began searching for him on foot,” he said.

Daw was located approximately three miles into the woods, in the edge of a food plot near forestry road 310-C. Rescue efforts were slow because of the rough terrain and Daw’s injuries, which Meeks said consisted of two broken legs. Meeks said Daw reportedly had no feeling from the waist down.

Daw was airlifted to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Fla., for treatment, and as of Monday, there was no official word of his condition, Meeks said.

“In my opinion, this is a perfect illustration of why you shouldn’t go hunting by yourself,” Meeks said. “If (Daw) had not had his cell, it would have been hours after dark before anyone knew he was missing, and we would’ve had a very hard time finding him after dark.

“My advice to all hunters is this – carry a cell phone,” he said. “Put it on vibrate. The deer won’t hear the vibrations.”