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It can happen to you! (Bowhunter's Journal).

SOMETHING IN human nature makes us believe that bad things happen to others but not to us. Tragically, that's not the case, and an accident on one of my recent hunting trips reminds us all that razor-sharp broadheads have no conscience and perform just as effectively on the hunter as on the hunted.

Last September seven of us had booked a black bear hunt with Foggy Mountain Guide Service in Sebec, Maine. We would be hunting in north-central Maine on paper company land, accessed via a private logging road with a gatehouse at the entrance where we had to check in and out each day.

At 3 p.m. the first afternoon of hunting, Phil, the youngest member of our group, rode with Mark, who dropped him off at his stand site about 8 miles from the gatehouse. Mark then drove several miles farther to his stand site. He would return to pick up Phil after dark.

Arriving at his site, Phil climbed into the stand, pulled up his bow, hung the bow on a hanger, and immediately nocked an arrow. His arrows were equipped with fixed-blade broadheads featuring factory sharpened replaceable blades. Phil was still getting organized when, in turning, he swung his arm to the side and accidentally drew the back of his left hand across the broadhead of the nocked arrow. The blade sliced a deep, 3-inch gash across the back of his hand. The wound bled profusely.

Fortunately, Phil had the presence of mind not to panic. He did all the right things. He kept his cool and after climbing from the stand, he applied pressure to the back of the hand and elevated it while walking the 200 yards out to the logging road. He had no way to reach Mark or any of us, and there was very little traffic on the logging roads since it was Labor Day and the logging trucks weren't running.

Finally a camper leaving the area saw Phil, stopped, and drove him out to the gatehouse, where the gatekeeper called 911. An ambulance arrived shortly and took Phil to the emergency room of the hospital in Millinocket, the nearest town with medical facilities, where 15 stitches were required to close the wound. Fortunately, none of the tendons or ligaments in the back of the hand were severed, so that no permanent damage was anticipated.

In spite of his painful injury, Phil was able to continue hunting, albeit with a rifle, and it turned out to be a great week for the entire group. We took several bears, including a nice 200-pound male Phil took on the last night of the hunt.

Phil's accident gave us all a greater respect for broadheads and the need to handle them with care. His injury could well have been life threatening if he had been deep in a wilderness area. The safety message here is obvious: Keep broadhead-tipped arrows in the quiver until all preparations have been completed and you are ready to hunt, or until you're ready to take a shot when stalking or stillhunting on the ground.
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Author:Poth, Bob
Publication:Bowhunter
Date:Oct 1, 2002
Words:516
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