HANOVER, N.H. (AP) – A hunter from Connecticut was hospitalized after falling from his tree stand during the weekend and lying helpless on the ground for about 16 hours.

Gus Vandermaelen, 44, from East Haven, Conn., fell from the tree on Moose Mountain around 8:30 a.m. Saturday, said Fish and Game Sgt. Brian Suttmeier.

He was found around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, about a half mile into the woods, at the base of a tree.

“He had been on the ground for a long time,” Suttmeier said. “He was dressed warmly, but he was very cold and probably had mild hypothermia.”

Suttmeier said Vandermaelen also apparently hurt his back and couldn’t move. He said the hunter fell about 20 feet.

Vandermaelen was in Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, where a nursing supervisor said the hunter did not want any information about his condition released.

Fish and Game was notified around 9 p.m. Saturday that Vandermaelen had not returned to a hunting camp.

Conservation officers John Wimsatt and Eric Hannett fired shots in the woods and heard the hunter yelling for them. They set a compass bearing on the shouts and found him, Suttmeier said.

“He had fired shots during the day, but he used up his ammo,” Suttmeier said. The hunter fired two shots, but because of the nature of his injury, and how he landed, he couldn’t move around to reload.

Vandermaelen had been staying at a hunting camp, and had been hunting in woods behind it.

Fish and Game was joined in the search and rescue by Hanover Police, State Police and Hanover Ambulance.

AP-ES-11-16-03 1320EST

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