Hunt and Your Health
by Melanie Calvert Benton, Copyright 2009
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I waited a few days to post this entry, because I didn't know exactly how to bring up the topic of being physically fit for the upcoming deer season. I, myself cannot wait to get out into the woods, hoping for that elusive buck to come my way and try to harvest him. I love, live and breathe for deer season, but alas I am getting older and in past years I didn't worry about my health as much as I now. I am nearing fifty and have a few health concerns and my body reminds me about it everyday.
It is today that I wanted you fellow sportsmen and women to take the time out to consider if you need what I call a "tune up" before you hit the woods. Questions I would like for you to consider are as follows.
1) Have you had a physical with your family doctor this year?
2) You may have a medical condition such as heart problems, diabetes,seizures,hypertension,high or low thyroid problems,gout, etc.
3) If you do have a medical problem as described above, are you on medication and watching for changes? The extreme heat or cold can affect your extremities especially if you have gout or are diabetic.
4) Do have the proper socks,foot gear and hunting wear? Would recognize the signs for frostbite? Many diabetics are unaware that their feet are getting too cold because of their decreased sensitivity to touch.
5) Pay attention now. If you suffer from heart disease, make sure you carry any medications you need for immediate treatment. I get excited about hunting like any other person and getting excited increases your heart rate as well as your blood pressure. I have heard stories of hunters who died in the woods while hunting because they had chest pain or had a heart attack and died before help arrived.
6) NEVER hunt alone, I have on occasion hunted by myself when I was younger, I was foolish and it didn't occur to me at the time that I might get out in the woods and get hurt. Always have a hunting partner and notify your family to where you are going, just in case of an emergency.
7) Are you physically able to use a climbing or ladder stand? When I was younger, I didn't give too much thought to shimming up a tree and sitting for hours and yes, even dozing lightly. If you have knee problems, this probably is not advisable. I will touch lightly on the the tree harness issue. I would recommend a harness that is much like a parachute harness, the kind that has arms straps, waist belt and a buckle in the front over your chest area. DO NOT use the basic waist strap, IF you were to slip, fall and hang, this type harness would eventually suffocate you. Always carry an easily accessible pocket knife, in case you have to cut the strap to free yourself.
8) If you are on medications, make sure you carry extra. I recommend a small first aid kit and if you are allergic to bee sting, carry one of those Epinephrine pens in case of allergic reaction.
One word of caution, do not ever go out hunting if you have been drinking alcoholic beverages. Alcohol affects your judgment, guns and alcohol don't mix. I know from past experience that some hunters love to sit around the old campfire and drink their favorite drink and tell tall tales, I've seen it happen. More camps should be responsible about the use of alcohol. Some medications react differently when mixed with alcohol.
(This article was intended to draw attention to your health and just a reminder of a few things to keep you healthy while you are in the woods.)
Have a happy, healthy hunting season!