Skip to Content
November 16, 2018

Hunters Should Keep Safety As A Top Priority

Plan your hunt; hunt your plan

November 16, 2018

Hunters Should Keep Safety As A Top Priority

Plan Your Hunt; Hunt Your Plan

BERLIN, Wis. – Perhaps no sport in Wisconsin has more traditions associated with it than the nine-day gun deer hunting season, which opens this year on Saturday, Nov. 17. Deer hunting, along with deer camp, is a special time and experience for many. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, thousands have purchased licenses for the 2018 hunt. 

Participating in deer hunting brings with it a commitment to safety. Dr. Michael Shattuck, MD, who works in the emergency department at ThedaCare Medical Center-Berlin, explained that deer hunting may be no more dangerous than many other sport activities, but it offers the opportunity for serious injury to occur.

“We recognize that deer hunting is a great tradition here in Wisconsin, and we urge all hunters to exercise caution and use common sense,” said Dr. Shattuck.

Some of the injuries can come from gun accidents, tree stand falls and physical conditioning issues which could lead to an emergency situation.

ThedaCare wishes all hunters a safe and successful hunt and offers safety tips from state organizations and our providers.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WIDNR) emphasizes the following hunting habits:

  • Follow the cardinal rules of firearm safety (TAB-K):
    • Treat every firearm as if it is loaded
    • Always point the muzzle in a safe direction
    • Be certain of your target and what is beyond it
    • Keep your finger out of the trigger guard until ready to shoot 
  • Plan your hunt and hunt your plan. Tell someone where you'll be hunting and when you plan to return.
  • Wear legal blaze orange or fluorescent pink clothing. At least half of the outer clothing hunters wear above the waist must be a regulated safety color. A hat, if worn, must be at least half blaze orange or pink. 
  • Follow safe practices when using a tree stand, including a full-body harness and maintaining three points of contact.

According to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources statistics, about half of all firearm injuries are self-inflicted. The DNR also states that accidents involving tree stands have outpaced gun accidents as the leading cause of hunting-related injuries and deaths in the U.S. The agency estimates that 84 percent of gun hunters and 97 percent of bow hunters use tree stands.

Dr. Shattuck, reports that falling from a tree stand has become the most common cause for hunting-related emergency room visits in recent years at ThedaCare Medical Center-Berlin.

“Tree stands are a great platform from which to hunt, but the opportunity for injury is high,” said Dr. Shattuck. “If hunters use the same tree stand every year, it’s important they remember that trees grow and their tree stand may shift over time. Hunters need to check their tree stand carefully before climbing it each year. It’s also very important that they make sure the steps up to their tree stand are safe – that they haven’t rotted or shifted.”

The International Hunter Education Association estimates that one in three hunters who use tree stands will fall at some point. It offers these safety tips:

  • Always wear a safety harness when entering, leaving and sitting in a tree stand.
  • Never climb a tree while carrying a firearm or bow.
  • Always know how your stand works and inspect it before each use.
  • Be sure to select a tree that is suitable for your stand.

“The excitement of shooting a deer is significant, but it’s important that hunters keep their own safety and the safety of others foremost in their mind,” said Dr. Shattuck.

About ThedaCare

For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization serves a community of more than 600,000 residents and employs more than 6,700 healthcare professionals throughout the regions. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 31 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.

For more information, visit or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.

Media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public Relations Specialist at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.