Every time you go bowhunting, the probability exists that you or someone in your hunting party could have an accident. Statistically the likelihood of an accident occurring at home or in the work place are much greater than while hunting. Experienced, responsible Bowhunters know being prepared to deal with accidents in the field is crucial.
You and the other members of your hunting party should know first aid. First aid classes are available throughout the state. Contact your local fire department, school or county sheriff to learn where first aid classes are available in your area. Ideally all Bowhunters should invest the time and minimal fee to take an American Red Cross First Aid course or similar training seminar. First aid is very similar to survival: Every hunter needs to know something about it.
This article is in no way intended to be a substitute for this type of complete instruction. This article will cover some basic First Aid steps and a few first aid concerns specific to Bowhunting. (The next article will cover Survival Techniques and equipment.)
You've all heard the old cliché or adage, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". It's right on target applied to Bowhunting and First Aid. Planning ahead will allow you to avoid accidents or to mitigate their consequences.
Accident prevention practices are:
In all first aid situations, the rule of thumb is simple:
All bowhunters should take first aid courses to learn CPR and emergency breathing techniques.
Next attempt to establish communication with the victim, identifying yourself, asking them if they need help, etc.
Now check the victim's A,B,Cs
If possible send someone for help if it is necessary.
Other injuries should be addressed according to their level of threat to the victim. These could be any of the following:
1. Excessive Bleeding. Use direct pressure. Place your finger or fingers directly on or in the wound to close blood vessels and stop the bleeding. With wounds of larger surfaces, fold up your undershirt or other piece of clothing into a pad and apply it directly to the wound. Hold it firmly in place with hands, rope, or bandage. Once pressure by hands or pad is applied, do not remove, as this breaks down the "grid" formed by clotting substances in the body and makes it much harder to get the bleeding stopped. Tourniquets are dangerous and should rarely be applied.
2. Broken Bones. Keep them as they are by applying splints or supports made from your bow, arrows (without points), sticks, or other leg. Transport victim only as far as absolutely necessary. Carry him on your back or improvise a stretcher from two poles and clothing.
If a person is bleeding, you must stop the bleeding as quickly as possible. You may also need to protect the wound from infection and treat the victim for shock.
There are two recommended ways to stop bleeding:
This is not as good as direct pressure in most cases. Using a pressure point stops all circulation to that part of the body. Direct pressure stops circulation only at the wound. When using pressure points, you should first use direct pressure over the wound. Add a pressure point only after you have used direct pressure and bleeding has not stopped. After bleeding has stopped, release the pressure point and maintain direct pressure on the wound.
A tourniquet is not recommended to stop bleeding. The only time a tourniquet should be used is when a limb (such as an arm or leg) must be sacrificed in order to save a person's life.
Clean small wounds with hand soap and water. Do not clean a serious wound after bleeding has stopped! Leave the bandage in place and allow trained medical professionals to clean the wound. If you try to clean a serious wound, you may allow bleeding to start once again.
DO NOT PANIC!
MOST SIGNIFICANT: Control the bleeding by applying pressure directly over bleeding site. A severed major blood vessel results in loss of large amounts of blood rapidly. Most adults can suffer only one pint (16 ounces) of lost blood without serious repercussions. Any moderately clean cloth or even your hand works as a "pressure dressing". Carefully cut clothing away from wound site if necessary.
The danger of a deep chest wound is collapsing the lungs with may prevent the victim from breathing. Have the victim exhale, blowing out to minimize suction. Cover the wounds with air tight dressing, such as sandwich wrap, piece of space blanket, cellophane from cigarette pack, or hands if nothing else is available, before breathing is resumed.
Have the victim breathe with shallow breaths to avoid excessive suction inside chest.
Normally, the same principles applying to emergency treatment of extremity cuts also apply to abdominal wounds. Bleeding from the skin or muscles under the skin can be controlled by applying pressure.
Deep wounds may enter the abdominal cavity and may lacerate soft abdominal organs, causing excessive bleeding into cavity and little visible bleeding on the surface. Such wounds CANNOT BE CONTROLLED BY PRESSURE. Get the victim to a hospital. Time is of utmost importance. If feasible, use ambulance, trained personnel and special equipment, but DON'T WAIT LONG.
VICTIM IN SHOCK
Shock slows down the heart, lungs, etc., and can cause death. Anybody who has been injured can suffer from shock. The best treatment for shock is to keep the injured person comfortable, arm and dry. Usually, you keep the victim lying down, with feet elevated. Elevate the head and shoulders of a shock victim with a head injury. Also elevate the head and shoulders if the victim has difficulty breathing. Do not elevate both head and feet.
VICTIM WITH SPRAIN
Make a splint for the break or fracture. Do not move a bone, if it is broken. Use sticks, magazines or splint boards to keep the break or fracture from moving. It is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between a sprain and a fracture. Make a splint for a sprain just as you would for a fracture. Try to prevent unnecessary motion.
Do not move a victim with a serious neck or back injury. Send for qualified medical help immediately.
VICTIM WITH BURN
Doctors use 'degrees' to measure the depth of a burn.
VICTIM NOT BREATHING
How do you know if a victim is not breathing or is unconscious? The easiest way is to tell if a victim is unconscious is to shout at them! If the victim is unconscious or cannot breathe, the victim will not answer.
Remember your ABC's to deal with this situation!
A - Airway
Check that the airway passage is clear of obstructions.
B - Breathe
If a person is not breathing, assist immediately. Once the airway passage is clear, listen and feel to see if the victim is breathing. Wait 5 seconds. If there is no breathing, breathe into the victim. This expands the victims lungs and gives oxygen.
Don't give up breathing into the victim until qualified medical help arrives!
C - Circulation
Hypothermia is the loss of body heat. This happens when the body loses more heat than it can produce. Hypothermia is always dangerous and sometimes fatal.
Hypothermia is usually caused by one of two conditions:
Treatment is necessary when people suffer from hypothermia. The treatments below will help raise the core body temperature slowly and evenly. Never give alcohol to a person suffering from hypothermia!
You should have a basic first aid kit in your survival pack. Make sure that you know what is in your first aid kit and how to use it. Don't assume that because your friends have a first aid kit, you don't need to carry one!
A basic first aid kit should contain at least the following items:
Until next week, Good Luck, Happy Hunting, and God Bless. . . . . . . . .Stu Keck
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