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Hunters: STAY FIT

This spring, hunters throughout North America will flock to their favorite wild turkey hunting haunts. However, not all hunters take the needed precautions to make sure they stay healthy in the woods.

Dr. Robert Dettmer, NWTF national board member and retired M.D., has provided some tips for staying healthy while enjoying one of America's greatest traditions - hunting the wild turkey.

Health Tips: During the Hunt

You've trained for the hunt, but don't forget other factors for your hunting safety. Remember these tips for a safe hunt.

  1. Hunt with a partner in moderate proximity, or at least tell someone where you'll be hunting. Two-way radios can also be helpful, if you need medical assistance.

  2. Allergies can be as deadly as cardiac or respiratory conditions. Being aware of your allergies such as dusts, molds and pollen before the hunt is crucial. It's also very important to know if you are allergic to critters that sting or bite. If you have such allergies, having your EpiPen (Epinephrine) with you (not in the vehicle) when you get bit or stung is very important because hunting situations often take hunters far from the emergency room. Be prepared to treat any known medical condition.

  3. Be prepared for ticks and chiggers. Something so simple as tucking your pants legs into your boots can make a great difference in deterring these little pests. Also, treating clothes with insect repellent before the hunt can save a lot of misery.

  4. Rest often during the hunt and drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated can determine the way you feel both during and after the hunt.

Wild is Healthy: Nutrition Facts

Mental and aerobic concerns aside, wild game, including wild turkey, can be just plain better for you than store-bought meats. While much has been said about the low fat, higher protein benefits of buffalo meat and venison over beef, wild turkey has the edge over its domestic cousins raised on additives to make them fat. Wild turkey has a little over two percent more protein, a half percent less fat and slightly less cholesterol than domestic turkey, according to a North Dakota State University study. In addition, the quantity of fat is not only generally lower in wild game, but it is also healthier, since it contains less saturated or "bad" fat.

Remember: This is a great time to get in your required fruits and vegetables. Stay away from large quantities of sugars and carbohydrates and opt for protein-rich foods or snacks high in fiber. Experts say that you should quit eating three hours before bedtime. However, the all-day turkey hunter often doesn't have that luxury.

6 Ways to Stay Energized

Your meals on the day of the hunt are as important as all of the training that went into your preseason preparations. Here are some helpful tips to keep you energized during the hunt.

  1. Eat a nutritious breakfast. Try a bowl of cereal or oatmeal with a serving of bread and maybe a serving of fruit or juice to jump-start your day.

  2. Take healthy snacks to fuel you through mid-morning. Turkey hunters often leave their homes or hunt camps well before daylight and can burn off their breakfast shortly after sunrise. Stowing a few apples, granola bars or a package of trail mix can give you the fuel you need to finish the morning's hunt. Also, eating healthy snacks will allow you to eat moderately when you break for lunch. By eating small meals, your body will stave-off the sluggishness that can haunt hunters who need to move quickly.

  3. Eat a healthy lunch. If you plan on hunting in the evening, you'll need food to get you from mid-afternoon to dinner. You may be in the woods well after dark if you plan on roosting a bird for the following morning.

  4. Afternoon snacks. Take snacks with you for the afternoon and early evening portion of your hunt. It will help you eat 5-6 small healthy meals a day and avoid overindulging during dinner.

  5. Be mindful of dinner. Late night meals can sit heavily on a hunter's stomach and lead to restlessness. Hunters don't burn calories consumed from nighttime meals, so cut back on portions size and remember to eat a moderate and balanced dinner.

  6. Drink...... water. Dehydration can cause weakness, fatigue, muscle soreness and dizziness. Be mindful of your water intake during the day. Hunters sweat a lot and aren't always focused on drinking enough water. Dehydration can be a serious condition and potentially life-threatening.




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