As part of the Heart Healthy Hunting campaign, Delaney Roberts, campaign ambassador, shares her personal reasons for why she supports this campaign and why she wants to you practice it.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Delaney Roberts. I am a 16 year old junior at Wahama High School in Mason County, WV. It is an honor to be an ambassador for the West Virginia Chapter of the American Heart Association and helping others to learn the importance of Heart Healthy Hunting. If you’re anything like me, you didn’t even realize that worrying about your health was a thing when it came to hunting until one day, it suddenly is. I want to share my very personal and emotional experience about the loss of two family members with you in hopes that it may reach someone and even help save a life.
I come from a family of avid hunters, and every year, I watch them prepare for hunting season. This preparation includes sighting in their guns or bows, setting up tree stands or blinds, and washing their clothes to ensure no scent can be detected to scare off the deer, among many other things.
In 2017, my grandpa (who was my best friend) had set out early in the morning in hopes of getting a deer. He was lucky and fired a kill shot, taking down the buck that had crossed through the sights of his scope. As he was dragging the deer to his four-wheeler, he felt a pull and pain in his chest. He abandoned the deer and headed home thinking that he had pulled a muscle. Unfortunately, this was not the case. His aortic valve ruptured and he ended up passing away.
In 2021, my uncle was heading to Colorado for a planned hunting trip. He had spent weeks preparing and packing his gear for the week long adventure. On his second day driving across the country, he had a heart attack behind the wheel and ended up passing away as well.
The reason that I want to share these stories with you is to help you understand the importance of heart health when it comes to hunting. Though hunting is considered a sport, many do not look at it like your “typical sport” with young, healthy athletes. Hunters come in all age ranges and from all walks of life and often don’t consider the physicality that comes along with hunting.
Hunters hike, climb, sit in cold temperatures for lengthy periods of time, experience adrenaline spikes when they take their shots, and have to endure the physical demands of getting their kill out of the woods. This is why it’s important to make sure that before you head out into the woods, make sure that one step in your preparation includes making sure that you and your heart are physically healthy and ready to meet the demands of hunting. You also need to have a plan in place that includes where you will be hunting, what time you plan to be home, and having some form of communication. It’s also important that you know the signs and symptoms of a stroke or heart attack and do not hesitate to call 911 if you are experiencing any of these. It could save your life!
I want to thank you for taking time to listen to my story, and I hope you will practice heart healthy hunting.
You can learn more about Heart Healthy Hunting by visiting https://easternstates.heart.org/healthyhunting/