Rabbit Season! Duck Season! Oh, Deer…
by Omar Fercha, ATC
Be vewy, vewy, quiet.. It’s hunting season. **insert Elmer Fudd laughing here**
Fall is the air. Leaves are changing color to earthier rust, ochre, and sienna colors. Offset against the changing landscape, you’ll find random splashes of bright orange. These are humans. Actual humans wandering the woods (for potentially miles) on a quest to claim their prize. This is no easy feat, mind you, and one you should do your best to prepare for. If done in vain, you may win the battle but you’ll definitely lose the war. Let me explain… there is no time, let me sum up.
Balance falls into two separate categories when hunting.
– YOUR balance. Regardless of where you go hunting, you will be walking and walking and walking and walking. Sometimes uphill. Possibly downhill. Over and under trees. Your ability to walk is critical! Practicing your balance skills will not only make your hunt hiking more successful, it will keep you prepped for the hike home with your prize!
– YOUR pack. Unless you’re hunting quail, you’re planning on adding lots of pounds to your pack during your hike. Hiking out with an unbalanced pack will lead to a whole host of issues you’d rather not deal with! Here are some fun pack tips for you to consider from the body mechanics experts… not so much hunting experts.
- Find the right pack for you. This is not the time to borrow a buddy’s pack. Weight should sit through your shoulders and hips.
- Find a bag that drains. No need to carry unnecessary weight. You can always create your own drain.
- We aren’t carrying groceries in from the store here (1 trip minimum). So, if you happen to be somewhat close to camp, make a second trip. Or just invest in horses or even an ATV. This would substantially reduce the weight you carry.
- Load your pack on the side of a hill so you can sit below the pack when strapping it on. Make sure to keep the load close to your body. This will reduce the force to your back when standing. Use the countryside for the advantage now! No need to work harder.
Hunting requires some skill and athletic prowess in order to be successful. Tracking requires lots of walking to follow an animal. This is no day hike either. Between a weapon, snacks, and WATER, you’ll be carrying extra weight and expending a lot of energy in the day. A proper warm-up is critical to make sure your muscles are prepared for such an endeavor. You will be sore! Your back, shoulders, and feet will take the brunt of the day. Take 10 minutes and ensure a proper warm-up.
Non-work related injuries have a pesky habit of turning into work related injuries. Set yourself up for a safe adventure and a healthy return to work!
Omar Fercha, LAT, ATC || Omar is a Portland, OR based Athletic Trainer with Work Right NW. He has 10+ years of experience working with youth to Division 1 athletes. Four years ago, he brought that experience to the sidelines of the industrial athlete. In his free time you can find him hiking with his wife, dogs, and brand new baby.
Be sure to check out our other blogs for further injury prevention education and tips from Work Right NW!