Aspirus Media Center

Deer Hunting Season Poses a Risk to Heart Attacks

Ensuring physical health and safety during deer hunting season

11/13/2023

Dr. Marcus Sublette, Aspirus Cardiologist

Deer hunting is not just a pastime but a cherished tradition for many outdoor enthusiasts. However, this exhilarating activity comes with physical challenges and potential health risks that every hunter must address to ensure their well-being in the great outdoors.

 

Here are some essential aspects of deer hunting safety from Aspirus and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR):

 

Physical Preparedness: Deer hunting often demands physical exertion, from navigating rugged terrain to carrying gear and tracking prey. It's essential to understand your physical limitations and not push yourself too hard. Overexertion can lead to exhaustion and, in extreme cases, medical emergencies.

 

Marcus Sublette, MD, Aspirus cardiologist, says, "Hunting often involves prolonged periods of exertion, which can put a significant strain on your cardiovascular system. The abrupt transition from a sedentary lifestyle to intense physical activity may lead to a sudden increase in heart rate and blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart-related issues," he notes.

 

“Be realistic about your abilities and listen to your body. Rest when needed, and don't take unnecessary risks.”

 

Dress for the Elements: Weather conditions during hunting season can be unpredictable. Exposure to extreme cold or wet weather can lead to hypothermia and other health issues.

 

Wisconsin DNR Lt. Conservation Warden Bryan Lockman says to, “dress in layers to maintain warmth and use appropriate waterproof gear to stay dry. Protecting yourself from the elements is vital for your physical well-being.”

 

Hydration and Nutrition: Maintaining proper hydration and nutrition is essential. Long hours in the wilderness may lead to irregular eating habits and dehydration, which can lead to fatigue and other health concerns. Ensure you have sufficient water and pack energy-rich snacks to keep your energy levels up.

 

First Aid Skills: Every hunter should have a basic understanding of first aid and CPR. Minor injuries can quickly become more severe in the wilderness. Carrying a well-equipped first aid kit and knowing how to aid in cardiac emergencies is crucial.

 

Emergency Communication: In remote hunting areas, cellular service may be limited or nonexistent. “Always inform people close to you where you will be and what hours you plan to be there,” says Bryan. Consider carrying a satellite phone or a personal locator beacon to summon help in case of a severe injury or health emergency.

 

Deer hunting can be a physically demanding and rewarding activity. By prioritizing your physical health and adhering to safety guidelines, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable hunting experience. Remember that your well-being should always be the top priority, and a healthy hunter is a happy hunter.

 

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