Bowhunting is a practice where animals are hunted with a bow and arrow instead of a gun. Like every other outdoor sport, injuries are unavoidable. Some injuries, however, are more serious than others and can cause lasting harm. Some severe cases can even lead to death.
This article will discuss some of the most common types of serious bowhunting injuries, their causes, and how you can avoid these injuries.
Types of Serious Bowhunting Injuries
Strains, blisters, small cuts, sore elbows and shoulders, and even string slaps are among the many injuries peculiar to bowhunting. Still, they fall far off the classification of “serious injuries”.
Some serious bowhunting injuries include:
1. Falls, mostly from tree stands.
To get a wide range of vision of their environment, bowhunters have to position themselves at highly elevated positions. This is why some of them climb trees while the majority set up tree stands that are easier to use. They sight prey and fire shots from this position. They have a higher advantage being high up in a tree.
Sometimes, accidents occur. A bowhunter might lose balance and fall off the tree. Or, the tree stand fails to hold the weight of the hunter and he falls to the ground. Many times, the accident is due to negligence on the part of the hunter.
Many of these trees can be as high as 20 to 30 feet tall. Dropping from this height is extremely dangerous and injuries sustained from this type of fall are usually very fatal and in many cases, leave permanent scars on the hunter. Some severe cases lead to death, most times instantly. This is the most common type of bow hunting injury.
2. Bites from Animal attack
Sometimes, tables turn, and the hunter becomes the hunted. Animals have very defensive instincts. When they feel threatened with no way out, they attack with whatever defense mechanism they have – claws, sharp teeth, and toxic venom.
Some animal attacks are very deadly. Many bowhunters have been reported to have lost parts of their body to these vicious animals. Some do not even make it out of these attacks alive.
Injuries sustained from animal attacks leave scars that last a lifetime.
3. Deep cuts from an arrow or knife
The tip of an arrow is just as sharp as a knife. Accidents, where an arrow pierces the skin and forms a very deep cut, can be more deadly than they appear to be. There is a very high risk of losing a large amount of blood or the cut getting infected. If the arrow pierces a very delicate region of the body, there’s a high risk of damaging the visceral organs which might in severe cases, less to death.
4. Mistaking people for a game
Some serious injuries are not on the hunter himself but for others. A hunter might mistake someone walking by for a catch and then shoot an arrow at the person. If such a person is not medically attended to immediately, it might lead to not just a serious injury, but death.
5. Burns from fire outbreak
Hunters may need to camp in the forest overnight. This means they’ll need to start a small campfire. Everyone knows how fires are time bombs waiting for an opportunity to explore. One little mistake and, boom! A fully-fledged forest fire.
A fire can do a whole lot of damage in such little time.
This occurs among duck and fish bowhunters. It is necessary to have swimming skills and to wear protective gear when going to hunt on water.
Drowning can occur If the boat tips over due to unevenly distributed weight. The pressure plunges the hunter into the water.
The hunter might also jump into the water to escape from dangerous animals.
How to prevent common serious bowhunting injuries
You will not be able to avoid all injuries as a bowhunter. The job is risky and sometimes, you’ll get hurt. “What doesn’t kill you,” they say, “only makes you stronger”. However, you will need to know how to avoid serious injuries that can actually “kill you “. The watchword is to ALWAYS be security conscious. Safety is not overrated and following safety precautions are not a sign of weakness.
Never forget the following tips when you go bowhunting:
- Avoid overconfidence: Never trick yourself into believing that you can handle every situation.
- Always use a tree stand: If you must climb a tree, try to be very careful. Avoid distractions that can make you lose your footing.
- Ensure your tree stand is well constructed and can support your weight: Use quality materials to construct a tree stand.
- Do not go close to life, wild animals unless they are very weak or dead.
- Handle sharp tools like arrows and knives carefully.
- Always have a first aid kit with you every time you go hunting.
- Always avoid fire hazards when starting a campfire.
- Always have a clear view of your target before you shoot.
One of the most common types of serious bowhunting injuries is falling from a tree or tree stand. This can result in major long-term damages to the hunter’s body and many times instant death.
Other serious injuries include burns, bites, and deep cuts. Even though injuries can not be completely avoided, the serious ones can be alleviated if bowhunters follow simple safety rules and avoid overconfidence.