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Elk hunting with Afib, any suggestions?
Contributors to this thread:
Slider14 30-Oct-19
elkmtngear 30-Oct-19
swede 30-Oct-19
KERRBOW 30-Oct-19
IdyllwildArcher 30-Oct-19
plenty coups 31-Oct-19
Castle Oak 31-Oct-19
Zim 31-Oct-19
x-man 31-Oct-19
TrapperKayak 31-Oct-19
Bou'bound 31-Oct-19
Bonecracker 12-Nov-19
BadlandsRoger 12-Nov-19
lewis 12-Nov-19
Fdales Finest 13-Jan-20
Shiras42 14-Jan-20
drycreek 14-Jan-20
lewis 15-Jan-20
From: Slider14
Hey Guys just found out that I have Afib, anyone out there have any ideas on how hard I can Elk hunt.

From: elkmtngear
I'd recommend doing a stress test with your Cardiologist. See how erratic your heart gets, with a serious load on it.

Hopefully, he'll be familiar enough with the demand of elk hunting at elevation, to determine what you can physically handle, without going into some type of rapid response.

In other words...give it all you've got on the treadmill (under Medical Supervision), and see how your heart handles it.

From: swede
Jeff make a great point. Also, if your Afib causes you to be tired like it does others, or if you are limited on where you can go and what you can do; I would get a good comfortable tree stand. Going to a stand has only increase my success.

See if you can have a cardioversion to get it back in rhythm. Sometimes they work, sometimes go back into afib. I ended up having an ablation done. Hopefully you are seeing a cardiologist?

Yup, you need to see an electrophysiology specialist and see if you're a candidate for ablation. Get the A Fib cured and then you don't have to worry about it.

From: plenty coups
Here is the best suggestion yet, see, listen to and follow a cardiologist advice. Need more info then ask HIM/HER! Defibulators don't run on current bushes! Depending on how bad you have it you may decide to live with it and take your chances or take one of the many options. I tried the med for a year. It did not get better. I went for a triple ablation. I may have to go back for a last one as they could not reach the 4th problem area without going through the chest wall. It is a small area hidden and we thought it may not be a problem but it is growing. I am NOT going to give you a .... "Well I did.... or "My (insert; brother ,father, friend etc) did. If your Dr doesn't have the answers you seek then find another or another or another. What I did or did not do was based on questions and knowing what I was and am physically combined with daily life desires. One bit of advice I got from the professional medical staff was to get a pulse oxcimeter to measure the heart rate and oxygen levels. A sporadic/erratic heart beat is tough to read and impossible when it becomes high.

From: Castle Oak
Slider, I lived with AFib for several years. When the episodes starting impacting my lifestyle I decided to have something done. I could not take the normal meds due to an already low resting heart rate and I did not like having to take the anti-coag drugs to lower the risk of stroke. So I pressed my cardiologist to refer me to a cardiologist that specialized in heart electro. Fortunately we have one of the world's best right in my backyard. He performed a cryo-ablation that has nearly eliminated my issue. I still have momentary (a few seconds) of abnormal beats but nothing like I was having. I can now train for elk hunts and do my everyday stuff without any issues. It ain't cheap but it has changed my life. The same doctor has treated several of my friends and they too have had great results.

From: Zim
I feel so lucky my electro problem was the easier of the two to handle........atrial flutter. Had a cardio conversion, ablation, pacemaker & angiogram but now I’m pretty much allowed to do anything. I’ve had zero episodes since getting mine three years ago. The only limiting factor is shoulder pad pressure on the pacer. So I think my solo backpacking days are over. This also prevents me from long pack outs any more, on top of other physical breakdowns. So I must line up pack horses before my trips. But I’ve been able to get through two elk hunts in those three years.

From: x-man
My son wears a smart watch that keeps track of his a-fib and can even do an EKG with a push of the button and send that off to the Cardiologist. After he is done with college, he will get together again with the Cardiologist and discuss the best options...most likely an ablation. For now he was not advised to alter or slow down his physical activities.

From: TrapperKayak
Suggest not hauling out any heavy loads until you find out what's wrong and get it remedied.... Just sayn'. Carry aspirin with ya too.

From: Bou'bound
Don’t go to hunting chat rooms for medical advice and don’t go to doctors for hunting advice.

From: Bonecracker
Went through this issue 4 years ago at the age of 56. I went through 2 Cardioversions (electric shock therapy) and 2 Ablations (going up the femoral artery and freezing the SA Node) along with the typical AFib medications. The cardioversions only lasted temporally so I was set up for my first Ablation. The first Ablation was stopped after 3 hours due to the inability of a nurse to insert a catheter correctly causing a lot of blood loss in my urine. Went back 3 weeks later and the Ablation was successful. 4 years later I am totally off my Afib meds, blood pressure normal, vitals normal. I am riding my bike 40-80 miles a week, work out when I want, and pretty much do what I want. Occasionally once every other month I go back into Afib for short periods and it is gone in the morning. Per your question regarding how hard can you hunt as I did an elk hunt while in Afib back in 2015. My cardiologist just told me to take it easy and walk everywhere and no mountain climbing. Luckily halfway into the hunt I wake up in normal sinus rhythm (big deal) and kill my bull the next day. Hope this info gives you some help!

A few years ago there was a thread on here about hunting elk from a treestand over a pile of apples in Washington State. If I recall correctly it was a controversial thread, but that some guys were touting it as a way to keep some people hunting elk that otherwise wouldn't be able to. I believe there's an outfitter in WA that manages these hunts and it's no more strenuous than hunting whitetails from a tree stand. That could be a good option for you.

From: lewis
Hmm sounds familiar I have Afib have had 2 ablations after the second one had to have a pacemaker I call mine a turbo charger lol. I had all my procedures done at VANDERBILT and have a lot of faith in their cardio department.Please get a cardiologist that has a stellar reputation and do what they you are allowed to do.For instance I am not allowed to use a chainsaw.Good luck with your Afib it’s a pain but very doable.Lewis

I don’t have Afib but did have a widowmaker heart attack at 43 just 7 months after winning the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Pan Ams. I was only 43. I am now 53 and did my first self guided elk hunt in NW Colorado this past September.

I can tell you it’s the most strenuous thing I have done since the heart attack. I wore a fitbit and my heart rate peaked on one of the climbs in a drainage of 196 bpm. The last time it was that high was while I was having the heart attack. You need to speak to your cardiologist and most likely need a stress test. It was funny for me at my previous check up he was talking about giving me stress test and I showed him my Readouts from my backpack cardio where I was carrying 40-70 pound packs for 2-4 miles before work. He saw on hills peak of 150-160, avg beats of 114-120 and within 10 minutes after working out being back down to about 100 bpm or less. He laughed and said you don’t need the stress test. Since it wouldn’t have stressed my system as much as what I was doing to prepare for the hunt.

Good luck and be safe!

From: Shiras42
If you go on anticoagulants, be careful with that knife!

From: drycreek
I have afib, I’m on my second pacemaker, the first one lasted 11 years. I don’t take any meds connected with afib except warfarin. And yes, if they put you on a blood thinner, be very careful with any thing sharp. Be a good idea to carry some Quick Clot gauze in your pack.

From: lewis
X2 drycreek

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