Few things raise the hair on the back of my neck and keep me awake at night like bowhunting. I love cloaking myself in camouflage. I love the feel of a brisk north wind slapping me in the face. I love my bow’s grip melting into my hand. For me, and for others like me, there’s nothing like it. And like anything we love in life, it’s hard to imagine something going wrong. I’m not talking about missing an animal, forgetting your release or not being able to find your treestand in the inky blackness of a fall morning. I’m talking about when things get serious and medical attention is required.
Bowhunting isn’t bull riding, but each and every time we head afield, whether it is our backyard woods or some far-flung locale, we run the risk of something happening to us or our bowhunting companions. We can’t ignore that fact. We must be prepared to administer medical care when it’s needed.
Here are six must-have first-aid kit items that served me well on a recent DIY bowhunting venture to the Sooner State. Get these items in your kit and be prepared to minimize your own or another bowhunter’s in-the-field misfortunes. (Note: Each of these items and tips for using them were provided by a medical doctor.)
- Surgical Gloves: Not only will surgical gloves keep you safe from disease and infection, but they will keep bacteria out of the wound or wounds you’re treating.
- Antiseptic Wipes: A wipe will cool, cleanse and sanitize a wound. When you’re in the woods, things get dirty, and cleaning a wound with an antiseptic wipe is a must.
- Iodine Swabs: Though they burn like nothing else, iodine will further prevent the chances of infection.
- Dry Gauze: The woods can be a damp place. You’ll want to apply pressure to a wound and get it nice and dry before gluing it shut.
- Super Glue: This is often the best way to close a small or large wound. Use dry gauze to dab the blood away. Then, using one hand to hold the wound shut, run a small bead of glue over the outside of the wound. Keep the wound pressed together until the glue dries. The last thing you want is for the wound to open and the glue to seep down inside the cut.
- Butterfly Bandages: Keep lots of these handy bandages in your kit. Better than a standard bandage when it comes to a deep cut, butterfly bandages come in an array of sizes and sport two “wings” of adhesive material that attach to either side of a wound and sport a thinner center which bridges the wound and keeps it closed.
Note: Always consult a doctor after in-the-field care is administered.
Aside from having these items in your first-aid kit, it’s also essential to brush up on your first-aid knowledge. Enroll in a first-aid class near you and be prepared to treat any and every in-the-field disaster. Visit www.redcross.org/ux/take-a-class to register for a class near you.