Health officials offer advice before going on a hunt

MOUNT JOY, P.A. --- "If you're a hunter, you grew up getting ready for the first day of deer season."

Alex Smay with Kinsey's Outdoors said they've been seeing eager hunters coming through their store in preparation for the upcoming deer firearm season.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission requires hunters to wear 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material, on the head, chest and back, combined.

Smay said it's also a good time to reload on gun safety procedures.

"There's a lot of power that you're wielding there. It's important to remember the basics of firearm safety...pointing you gun in a safe direction and not loading up before you're not supposed to," said Smay.

David Landis, emergency physician with UPMC-Pinnacle, said they're biggest concern comes from up high on tree stands.

While Smay says safety attachments are sometimes neglected due to comfort, Landis said wearing harnesses or lines can prevent visits to a hospital room.

"Extremity injuries, but it can also range from head injuries to even spinal injuries from people falling. The biggest thing is it's easily preventable," said Landis.

Landis said walking through the woods, climbing trees and hills, and carry game can all put stress on a hunter.

He recommended getting in appropriate shape to help keep the heart and lungs going throughout the hunt.

"When you have a couple weeks before, it's nice out, go do some walking up hills...walk your dog...something to get exercise before people go out and walk a couple miles a day and they're not used to it," said Landis.

Landis said heavy arms and chest or a shortness of breath cane be signs of a serious health concern.

"Definitely sit down, take a break, make sure someone is with you, making sure you're okay," said Landis.

While in a remote setting, Landis said knowing where the nearest return points are can save precious seconds in case of an emergency.

"Making sure the access roads, waypoints that you can tell EMS to get to are all clear so they have an idea of where to find you," said Landis.

Smay said bringing along items from the indoors, such as a charged cell phone and warm clothes or blankets, can help when venturing into the outdoors.

"We all have wives and kids and families that we have to go home to," said Smay.

Antlered deer firearm season starts on Monday, November 27 in most parts of south-central Pennsylvania.

Full season starts Saturday December 2.