When hunting seasons open in Illinois, emergency rooms prepare for a wide range of surprising injuries from animal attacks, defective hunting equipment like guns, knives, tree stands and bows, and from overexertion. Preparing for hunting season, even in the spring when turkeys and coyotes are the animals of choice rather than deer, means understanding these risks.

Five surprising hunting risks that Illinois hunters should watch for include:

Injuries from Tree Stands

Whitetail deer remains one of the most popular game animals in the country. Hunters utilize tree stands to get better visibility when hunting deer. These stands sit 20 to 30 feet in the air and require hunters to climb small ladders to access. The potential for falls and serious injury requiring medical treatment is quite high as a result.

Knife and Arrow Penetrations

In a study of 104 hunters treated for hunting injuries in the 1990s, the most common injury was a knife or arrow penetration. Mistakes by users or weapon malfunctions can all lead to this type of injury. With the high complexity of modern hunting weapons, weapon malfunction is actually quite common.

Misfire Accidents

A misfire occurs when a firearm or bow fires accidentally, either due to human or mechanical error. These accidents can be quite serious or even fatal. Hunting with a group requires clear communication and a dedication to safety to prevent misfire injuries. Hunters who have been injured due to malfunctioning equipment or the actions of another hunter may have grounds for a personal injury claim with the help of a personal injury lawyer.

Overexertion Injuries

The thrill of the hunt can send adrenaline through the body of a hunter, increasing the risk for overexertion injuries. Keeping a steady pace and entering hunting season in good physical shape helps prevent this risk. Hunters also need to be aware of the signs of dehydration and overexertion before they head out on the hunt.

Animal Attacks

A hunted animal is going to behave in unexpected ways. Often animals that appear to be dead may get a sudden burst of energy when the hunter approaches. Hunters should be especially careful when encountering wild animals.