ELIZABETHTOWN, N.Y. (WCAX) New York's North Country has a have a rich hunting culture, but the sport can be dangerous. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation says at least one hunter has died every year for the last five years either falling out of a tree stand or some other medical emergency. Now, a local hospital is offering a clinic to keep hunters safe.
For Richard Morgan, hunting is more than just sport. "Being with the family, being out in the woods, having a little snow fall on your face -- just the quietness -- and every once in a while you get lucky and see a deer," Morgan said.
It's something Morgan, his brothers, and nephews all look forward to -- hoping to bring down a big buck. "Say it weighs 180-pounds all cleaned out -- dressed we call it. It's like pulling a ton of rocks and you might be going up mountains and might be going down hills," he said.
That strain on your body is why Elizabethtown Community Hospital offers free clinics like to screen hunters.
"Many men and women when they are hunting, they go alone. They don't have anyone with them and things can go wrong," said the hospital's Amanda Whisher.
The free clinic has been offered every year for the last 12 years.
"it's just a wonderful program. We don't know what's wrong with our bodies. A lot of people don't even get physicals. They might get them every five to ten years -- you don't know," Mnorgan said.
"It can be anybody," Whisher said. "A heart attack or a stroke doesn't necessarily come at an age. It's dependent on risk factors."
From physicals to blood pressure tests, the health screening can cover some of the basics. There are also other topics like proper tree stand training and tips to avoid ticks.
"I mean it's terrible. Once you start getting them crawling on you, you just start freaking out. It ruins your day. That really ruins your day because you don't know where they are. Yeah, ticks are terrible," Morgan said.
Bowhunting season for upstate New York starts September 27.