First Aid: Bullet and Arrow Wounds
Here are proper responses if a hunter is struck by a bullet or an arrow.
A bullet striking the chest can cause a sucking chest wound—a deep, open wound of the chest wall that allows air into the chest cavity.
- All chest injuries are very serious and need immediate medical attention.
- To respond immediately to a chest wound:
- Use the palm of your hand to cover the wound until a bandage is located.
- Cover the wound with sterile gauze, a clean cloth, plastic, or foil.
- Make sure the wound cover forms an air-tight seal.
- Hold the gauze in place with a bandage or tape.
- If the victim has trouble breathing, remove the bandage and replace it quickly.
- Transport the victim to the hospital with the injured side down.
A deep wound in the chest or abdomen calls for quick action, especially if an artery or vein has been cut by a razor-sharp broadhead.
- If possible, apply a pressure bandage to the damaged vessel or the wound.
- If the arrow remains in the victim, leave it there. The broadhead itself may provide the pressure needed to stop the bleeding from the wound and allow clotting to occur around it.
- Try to stabilize the arrow with adhesive tape or other material. Minimize movement of the shaft to avoid further injury from the broadhead.
- Give medical professionals a duplicate of the arrow imbedded in the victim so that they see the size and shape to avoid injuring themselves as they treat the victim. A duplicate arrow also helps them determine if they have retrieved all of the broadhead from the victim’s body.