Dr. Paul Auerbach is the world's leading outdoor health expert. His blog offers tips on outdoor safety and advice on how to handle wilderness emergencies.See all posts »
Injury Patterns and Safety Practices of Deer Hunters
Hunting and fishing injuries are common. Injury prevention programs and safety interventions are optimally determined by understanding the nature of accidents and injuries. The American College of Emergency Physicians held a Research Forum in association with its Annual Scientific Meeting in Denver, Colorado in October, 2012. One of the presentations was entitled “Injury Patterns and Safety Practices of Deer Hunters in the United States.” Hauter and Hafner noted that there were an estimated 10.6 million U.S. adults participating in deer hunting in 2006. Because deer hunters use guns and park themselves in tree stands, there are unique hunting-related injures. Their study sought to identify the general injury patterns associated with deer hunting, and to investigate the safety practices used by hunters. This was done with a structured anonymous survey done on the Internet.
More than 1,000 persons responded from 48 different states. Most of the respondents were male, with a mean age of 38.7 years. Hunters reported using bows, rifles and shotguns. Slightly more than half reported hunting most of the time in a deer stand. Most had completed a hunter and/or gun safety class. Very few admitted to using alcohol or drugs while hunting. About a third reported suffering some type of injury. Most were due to falls, sprains, cuts, and bruises. The lower back, hands/fingers, and lower leg/ankle were commonly involved.
What can we glean from this study? Tree stands increase the risk for falls, and first aid education should include treatment for falls, sprains, cuts, and bruises. More serious injuries, like being wounded by a gun or arrow, are more rare.
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