UPDATED — Deer hunter dies after fall near Tarboo Lake in Jefferson County

By Leah Leach
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — A 66-year-old Silverdale man died Oct. 27 after falling from a large cedar tree during a deer hunting trip near Tarboo Lake about 20 miles south of Port Townsend.

Gerald Dizon fell as much as 25 to 30 feet from the upper branches of the tree where he was watching for game from a lookout, Chief Criminal Deputy Joe Nole of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office said Friday.

After he fell, Dizon phoned his wife, Gale, who called emergency dispatchers in Jefferson County.

“We got the call at 10:54 a.m.,” Nole said.

He was pronounced dead at 1:01 p.m. in an ambulance after rescuers found him, Nole said.

Apparently slipped

It appeared that Dizon slipped while trying to climb down from the perch, Nole said Friday.

Hunters tie their rifles to a rope to lower them before they climb down, Nole said.

“His rifle was still on a rope, so he had apparently lowered it,” Nole said.

“So the thought was this had happened while he was attempting to come down.

“There was no sign of foul play,” Nole continued.

“It was just a really bad accident.”

Joseph Costello, 58, of Poulsbo was hunting with Dizon.

“But he wasn't there when it happened,” Nole said.

“Gerald was up in the tree and Costello was somewhere else walking around. He didn't even know it happened.”

Two Jefferson County deputies and a state Department of Fish & Wildlife officer arrived at a locked gate on Tarboo Lake Road, which is on state
Department of Natural Resources land, and found Dizon's green Toyota Tundra pickup parked there.

While they began walking down the road, calling Dizon's name, Jefferson County emergency dispatchers called Dizon to get GPS coordinates on his phone.

Just before finding Dizon about two miles from the gate, rescuers ran into Costello, who joined the search.

Propped against tree

Dizon was sitting propped up against the tree. He was conscious but disoriented, unable to walk and “obviously seriously injured,” Nole said.

An ambulance was dispatched on another road to the area because the one rescuers had walked down had a “tank trap,” a rut dug with a backhoe to discourage vehicular traffic.

The plan was to airlift Dizon from the forest to Jefferson Healthcare and then to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle but he died while medics performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation — or CPR — on him, Nole said.

“It was pretty sad,” he said.

Last modified: November 02. 2012 4:18PM
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