Cardiovascular Demands of Deer Retrieval Methods

Charles Fountaine, Mitchell J. Evenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective The purpose of this study was to compare the cardiovascular (CV) demands of 2 deer retrieval methods. Methods Twelve male participants (weight 86 ± 24 kg, age 21 ± 1 years) performed a maximum treadmill test on day 1 to determine baseline fitness levels. On day 2, all participants first towed, then dragged a 45-kg simulated deer carcass for 457 m at a self-selected pace. The tow condition utilized a shoulder harness system with a 2-m strap connecting the harness to the carcass, allowing the participant to walk upright as he towed the load. The dragging condition required the participants to flex their trunk, grasp the legs of the deer with both hands, and drag the carcass the length of the course. Heart rate and oxygen consumption (Vo2) from each trial were measured by indirect calorimetry. Results The CV responses of towing were significantly less compared with those of dragging for Vo2 peak (P =.001), peak heart rate (P =.003), average heart rate (P =.028), and rating of perceived exertion (P <.001). No significant differences were observed for average Vo2 (P =.91) or time to completion (P =.27). Conclusions The results of this study suggest towing a deer with a shoulder harness results in significant reductions in CV demand and lower perceived exertion compared with traditional deer dragging techniques. Deer hunters who are deconditioned or have CV risk factors are strongly encouraged to consider deer retrieval methods utilizing a shoulder harness and tow rope to mitigate the increased demands commonly found with traditional retrieval methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number572
Pages (from-to)216-220
Number of pages5
JournalWilderness and Environmental Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Disclaimer: This study was funded by the University of Minnesota’s Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. This research was a poster presentation at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, May 28, 2014, Orlando, FL.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Wilderness Medical Society.

Copyright 2015 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • deer
  • heart physiology
  • heart rate
  • oxygen consumption
  • physical exertion

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