updated 12/10/2005 7:16:49 AM ET 2005-12-10T12:16:49

A hunter suffered hypothermia and kidney damage after becoming entangled in his deer stand and dangling upside down 30 feet above the ground in sleet for 8½ hours.

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Raybon E. Upton was hunting by himself Wednesday when his ankle became caught on the deer stand and he slipped. He was trapped there until about midnight when rescuers called by his wife were finally able to free him.

“I had cooked a big supper and he wasn’t home, then I just got this gut feeling that something wasn’t right. And I went out there and found him,” Tammy Upton said Friday.

Upton was conscious but trapped when his wife found him about 8:30 p.m. and call for help. A firefighter was able to secure him with a rope until a fire crew with a ladder could free him.

Upton underwent surgery on Thursday and had another scheduled Saturday and Monday, his wife said.

“He thought he was going to die there,” Tammy Upton said. “He had made his peace with God and everything.”

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