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Be active, proactive before deer hunt

Friday, November 11, 2016

By: Jeff Ash

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Dr. Scott Weslow with Aurora BayCare Cardiology


It’s a chilling realization: Hunters are three times more likely to die of a heart attack in the woods than from being shot by accident.


Why? For some hunters, Wisconsin’s nine-day gun deer season is the most physical activity they’ll have all year.


That’s why hunters should be active – and proactive – before heading out to the deer stand, says Dr. Scott T. Weslow, an interventional cardiologist with Aurora BayCare Cardiology.


“Walking out, that can get your heart rate up. Climbing a tree. Seeing and shooting deer. Dragging a deer is the most strenuous thing most people do in their lifetimes,” he says.


Weslow knows. He, too, is a hunter. Has been for more than 30 years, since he was a boy.


“That’s my passion,” he says, sitting in a tiny hospital office with deer mounts in two corners.


Wisconsin’s traditional nine-day gun season typically takes place from mid- to late November. Other deer, turkey and bird seasons are open through the end of the year.


Weslow’s recommendations for ensuring a healthy hunt include:


  • Be more physically active before hunting season.
  • Consider seeing your physician before hunting season, especially if you have a heart condition or a history of heart disease in your family.
  • If you have heart disease, take your medications.
  • Hunt in a group.
  • Carry a cell phone in case you need help.
  • Let others know where you’re hunting.
  • Know the area you’re hunting well.

Here's why.


“Your heart rate starts to go up when you walk a mile or two into the woods. When you see a deer, your heart rate doubles,” Weslow says. “When you shoot a deer, the real work begins.”


Hunters also should know the symptoms of heart trouble. They include:


  • Chest pain.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Pain in the left arm, jaw, or back.

Hunters who experience any of these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.


Dr. Scott T. Weslow sees patients in Green Bay and Shawano. For appointments, call 800-263-6309 or request one online.

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