It is that time of the year again! As the leaves change and the temperature drops, those of us who hunt head off into the woods. Whether you’re a meat hunter or after that allusive trophy buck, there are a couple things to keep in mind as you prepare for hunting season. We see hunters for two different types of injuries.
The first group are the over-use or “over doing it” group. Let’s not forget what we have done for the 11 months prior to hunting season. If you are a sedentary person you can’t expect your body to respond well when you put on an extra 10-15 lbs. of gear and try to head thru the woods for miles at a time. Or more insane, trying to drag that 150 lb. deer out of the woods all by yourself. We see a lot of muscle strains and sprains from over use. Worst of all, a couple of hunters each year suffer from a heart attack while trying to overdo it. So be smart if you want to do a fair amount of walking during the hunting season. Get out and do some walking before you step out into the woods for the first time. Second, if you get that deer, get help and don’t try to drag it out of the woods by yourself.
The second group is the fall out of the tree stand group. This group is the one we see the most of in the clinic. It usually results in multiple serious injuries. There are a couple of things to keep in mind to reduce these incidents. First, inspect your equipment. For example, make sure your stand is solid, and make sure you have a safe way to get in and out of your stand. Inspect your tree, and don’t wait until the leaves are off. Check it out early in the season and make sure the tree you are using is alive, healthy, and does not have a bunch of dead limbs. Lastly, and most important, wear a harness. This is a simple thing that can save your life and prevent serious injury.
These are just a couple simple ideas to make your hunting trip safer and more enjoyable. Good luck this Fall!
By: Brian Colvin, PT
Steve Bartz, PT