As hunters we are often overly excited about an upcoming season and have one thing on our mind, hunting. Leading us to often overlook some important steps we should take to be prepared. Even if you're plan is to just go out for the day, failing to prepare for your hunt could have consequences as serious as those planning to stay in the backcountry overnight.
Here are five health concerns/potential problems hunters often overlook.
1. Know Your Area
One of the most important parts of planning your hunting adventure is to know your area and make sure someone else knows where you are headed, just in case you get in a situation where you need help.
GPS electronics are great! But what happens if they fail or run out of battery leaving you without coordinates and a means of direction or whereabouts, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area?
I suggest before heading out you thoroughly scout the area using maps or better yet google maps! Google maps is a great way to see the lay of the land without actually going out.
2. Dress Properly
Layering is key for hunting, especially in the Fall when temps can swing from freezing to 90 degrees. Too little or too much clothing both pose potential problems. So having options for the differing temperatures is optimal.
Maintaining body temperature and wearing gloves, hats, and proper footwear are crucial for staying safe, warm and enjoying your hunt. If you lose blood flow to your hands and feet because of freezing temps, it is difficult to warm them back up in the field. On the other hand, wearing too many layers can lead to overheating and sweating through your base layers, which can instantly chill you when you stop hiking.
3. Eat Properly
Packing healthy food for a hunting or hiking trip is important. You want the convenience of pre-made and light weight food, but not at the expense of your health. Eating less than ideal foods when hunting, especially in the backcountry could not only be detrimental to your health, but also your hunt. As hunters we want to be successful and how can we do that if we fuel our body with processed foods packed with preservatives, sugar and empty calories?
Heather’s Choice is my go to healthy whole food choice when heading out. Not only is it a healthy light-weight pre-packaged option, but it is full of healthy calories and ingredients that keep me going and don’t drag me down.
Here’s a sample menu of what I would pack for a day trip into the backcountry:
Snack: Nitrate free jerky
Snack: Heather’s Choice Packaroons
Extra Snacks: Raw trail mix/Dried fruit/Cold protein pancake and almond butter
4. Be Properly prepared for an accident
In this instance I do not believe you can ever be too prepared. There are many different elements and dangers one should be prepared for when heading out hunting. I always have a good first aid kit with me in my pack just incase I am unfortunate enough to encounter an injury related to a fall, severe wound, snake/bug/tick bite or broken bone.
Hydration is one of the most crucial elements to hunting in the backcountry. Without proper hydration hunters may face many potential dangers of dehydration. In the short term dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness, confusion, and fatigue.
With maintaining proper hydration, you can reduce the risk of both heat illnesses, cold-related problems and altitude illness. Keeping your body properly hydrated will only increase your physical performance.
As hunters and outdoor enthusiasts we have to remember to be prepared, not only for a successful harvest, but for a successful hunt as well. Most of the time we are miles from our truck and our trucks our miles from the nearest town so being prepared to face any obstacles we might encounter is important.
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