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Listen To Your Heart This Deer Hunting Season


Dr. Marcus Sublette, Aspirus Cardiologist

Deer season is just around the corner. The last thing you want to do is spend it at your provider’s office – or worse, the emergency department – because of heart problems.

The excitement of the hunt alone can increase your risk for heart attack. With a heart attack occurring every 40 seconds in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s especially important for hunters to take extra precautions before heading into the woods.

Do not ignore the warning signs. 

Whether you have pre-existing heart disease or not, it’s important to know what your overall risk for heart attack is. Common warning signs – such as chest tightness, shortness of breath, and lightheadedness – should never be ignored no matter how subtle. To be on the safe side, consult your primary care physician.

“It’s important to be aware of your heart health risk factors and physical restrictions,” says Aspirus Cardiologist Dr. Marcus Sublette. “We know it’s a special time of year for the hunters in our communities, so we want to make sure people head into the woods with their best health in mind.”

Pack your medications and take them accordingly.

If you’re heading to deer camp for an extended stay, pack enough medications and take them as prescribed. It’s not advised to wash them down with anything other than what your health care provider recommends.

Seek help with hauling.

Hauling a deer is not easy. Combined with the excitement of your success, this can put you at even greater risk for heart attack. Have a buddy help you out or use an ATV to pull your prize back to camp. 

Keep your emotions, and indulgences, in check.

For some, deer season brings on a rush of adrenaline, nervousness and certain indulgences, and this can develop into atrial fibrillation (AFib). AFib is characterized by an unusually rapid and irregular heartbeat. This condition doesn’t always have symptoms, but when it does, it can be serious and lead to heart failure.

“Know what your body can handle and when to take it easy. Don’t push through it if you’re experiencing a racing or fluttering heart, anxiety, lightheadedness or fainting, shortness of breath or chest pain,” says Dr. Sublette. “Each year we see at least a few cases of heart attacks brought on by the excitement and physical exertion that goes along with deer hunting season, especially for those who are not physically active on a regular basis.”

To learn more about your heart health risk, take our heart health assessment.

For information about heart and vascular services at Aspirus, visit



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