CAMILLUS, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A family from Camillus is mourning the loss of their son after they say he fell from a tree stand while hunting on November 26.
The family wants to send a message to hunters to practice safety while hunting.
33-year-old Michael Rinaldo and his father Mike went hunting in Weedsport the morning of November 26. Mike said it was a quiet and peaceful morning.
He said they both looked up at the sky while walking in the woods and the stars were so bright.
“We went down the trail, and we got to the fork, and I said good luck, and he said good luck. I said I love you and he said I love you too.” Then they both went to their tree stands.
It was at 8:15 a.m. that Mike said he heard a gunshot come from his son’s tree stand.
“I knew it was him, it was close, and I texted him and said is that you?”
His son didn’t respond, which Mike said was unusual because they always get in touch right after gun shots so they can help each other. He tried calling him, and he still didn’t answer. He got down from his tree stand and went to his sons.
“I looked to the base of the tree and he was laying there,” said Mike. “He looked like he was sleeping and my instinct, right then I knew I lost my son before I even got to him.”
He said he tried to hug him, and he was really warm as he had his new heated vest on. Mike said his son had fallen from the tree stand and hit his head.
“He didn’t have a harness on, and I can’t be mad at him because I didn’t have mine on. I was always harping on him to have his on, and he would harp on me to have ours on, sometimes you just get lax.”
After he found his son, he went out to the road to get help.
Michael was a newlywed. He got married on September 27th to his wife, Larissa Rinaldo. They have a 3-year-old son.
“At first I didn’t believe it and at first I thought she kept saying it was my father-in-law that got hurt, and she kept saying no it was Michael, and I said no he’s fine, this isn’t real this isn’t happening, and it just still doesn’t feel real,” said Rinaldo.
The family wants to send a message to other hunters.
“Practice safety wear your orange and wear your harness. Everyone thinks this isn’t going to happen to them and this could have saved his life.”
The family wants to thank the community for all their support.