ASHVILLE, N.Y. — It began as a search for a missing hunter.
"It's a pretty vast area, wooded area, and so K-9 was brought in to assist to see if they could help track the whereabouts of the individual," said Sheriff Joe Gerace, (D) Chautauqua County.
And ended with a deadly discovery.
"Found his body under the tree which the treestand was located," said Gerace.
Gerace says 68-year-old Allen Randy Smith of Butler, PA was hunting on Blockville, Watts-Flats Road in Ashville when his treestand broke. He fell about 20 feet and was pronounced dead at the scene.
"I think its a wake up call for everybody, anytime we lose a fellow sportsman in a hunting accident, whether its a tree stand accident or others, it really cuts to the core of all, the whole sportsmen community," said Craig Robbins, County Fishing and Hunting Promotions Director.
With gun season opening Saturday, Robbins urges all hunters to know their target, use a tree stand harness, and secure it.
"Hunting is a great outdoor recreation, its great for the local economy, its great for your health, but be safe when you're out there," said Robbins.
Given the increased number of calls to police on opening day for hunting related accidents, the Chautauqua County Sheriffs Office is urging all hunters to take to the woods responsibly.
"We have more issues with weekend warriors that come in that might mix alcohol and hunting, do foolish things, disrespect people property, trespass where they don't belong," said Gerace.
Gerace also recommends hunters wear blaze orange at all times to help prevent other accidents.