Hunters are constantly advised to be cautious when in a treestand, but rarely are Barn Owls a danger.
While sitting in his treestand on Saturday, Oklahoma hunter Mike Adney first saw an owl approach just before daylight. According to KOTV, the bird did not see him because Adney was fully clothed in camouflage. The owl made two passes while the hunter watched it nervously, and on its third it struck Adney in the face. The bird lashed out with its razor-sharp talons, inflicting several puncture marks to Adney’s face and injuring his eye.
“He hit me full bore, about knocked me out of my stand, caught me off-guard, big time,” Adney said.
The hunter at first feared that the bird had taken out his eye, but later found that he suffered a torn retina. Adney says he now sees only blurs out of his affected eye and may require surgery to restore proper vision. Nonetheless, Adney does not blame the bird, who he believes never saw him before the impact.
Barn Owls prefer to hunt in sparsely-wooded environments, or at the edges of forests. These birds are one of the most efficient predators of rodents, which make them very valuable to farmers.
Now recovering from his injuries, Adney says it could have been much worse if he was not wearing safety harness. Falls from treestands are often a hunter’s worst nightmare and can be lethal.