Crews rescue bow hunter who fell on arrow in Fond du Lac County woods

FOND DU LAC COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A bow hunter is recovering after falling on an arrow in Fond du Lac County.

Photo source 123RF

On Nov. 7, dispatchers received a 911 call from 39-year-old Jonathan Henninger. The Brownsville man was bow hunting when he tripped.

“He had an arrow nocked in his bow, which for safety reasons we discourage that,” said DNR Warden Bill Hankee.

Somehow during the fall, an arrow cut into his right arm. He was bleeding heavily.

Henninger was alone. He had been bow hunting on DNR-owned public hunting land west of County Highway Y, south of the Village of Oakfield.

Henninger was able to put together a makeshift tourniquet to slow the bleeding according to Fond du Lac County Sheriff Ryan Waldschmidt.

"It certainly helped, and I'm confident had he not done that he would've died just based on the amount of blood loss and the blood on the scene when we got there," said Waldschmidt.

It just so happens that earlier this year emergency crews practiced for this type of rescue in the exact same area where Henninger was found.

“I mean this was almost an exact same scenario as what that training scenario was a few months ago,” said Waldschmidt.

Dispatchers and emergency responders used GPS coordinates to track down Henninger. They hopped on a UTV and pickup truck and then traveled by foot to get to find him in the woods.

Fond du Lac County Deputy Lucas Olson applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Rescue crews carried Henninger out of the woods and placed him in the bed of the pickup truck. From there, he was taken to an ambulance and transported to St. Agnes Hospital.

“All of those lines of communication fell into place, everyone knew what their role was and what they needed to do,” said Waldschmidt.

Hankee has spoken with Henninger, who’s expected to be okay.

“He actually said he wanted to volunteer to go to some of our hunter safety classes and talk about his incident to other young hunters and hopefully prevent something like that from happening in the future,” said Hankee.

But if another hunter is hurt out in the woods, emergency crews will be ready.

“Situations like this prove that and show that we work together, and we’re prepared to work together to do whatever we need to do,” said Waldschmidt.

The Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Office initial statement on the rescue emphasized the importance of their previous training.

"Coincidentally, this public hunting land was the site of a joint training exercise conducted by these same and additional agencies earlier this year. In that exercise, first responders navigated to various locations throughout the property using GPS coordinates provided by the Communications Center. That exercise became a reality this morning and helped save the life of the hunter who suffered a life-threatening injury," the statement read.

Dispatchers received Henninger's call at 5:38 a.m.