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Couch to Deer Camp: Recoil injury prevention

Hunter aiming gunIf you’re new to hunting and are worried about your gun’s recoil because of shoulder or arm injury, worry not.

A gun you use for deer hunting is probably not going to cause serious recoil injury to your shoulder or arm, said Dr. Scott Cameron, a Marshfield Clinic orthopedic surgeon and an avid hunter.

Realistically, there aren’t that many recoil injuries a hunter could suffer, unless they’re involved in a lot of shooting in the field or on the range,” he said. “Repeated impact can cause bruising, tendonitis and shoulder bursitis.”

If your shoulder hurts, give it a rest

The best and easiest treatment for these conditions is rest. If that doesn’t work, you may need to talk to your doctor about physical therapy or an anti-inflammatory injection.

“This applies to standard-size humans with standard-size weapons but if you’re going to Africa for big game hunting using really large-caliber guns, that’s a different world. You could cause acute damage without taking many shots,” Cameron said.

Tips for avoiding recoil injury

For the typical deer hunter, Cameron offers these tips:

  • Don’t over-caliber for the game you shoot at. You don’t need major magnum rifles for white-tailed deer.
  • Press the rifle firmly against your shoulder. Severe bruising or even a broken collar bone can result from holding a hard-kicking rifle away from your shoulder.
  • Check into accessories such as a recoil pad or padded shooting vest.
  • If you do a lot of range shooting, consider investing in a device that holds the weapon in place.

Have fun hunting, but if you do feel shoulder pain, give it a rest.

This information is part of Couch to Deer Camp, a series of fitness and health tips offered by Marshfield Clinic to help you get ready for the hunt.

You can do this.

Couch to deer camp provides health information and is not intended to be medical advice. Talk with your doctor prior to beginning a program of regular physical activity.

One response to “Couch to Deer Camp: Recoil injury prevention”

  1. Buster Bachhuber

    I prefer to use the term firearm and not weapon so as not to fuel the anti's arguements on hunting. Thanks for the article. Buster

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