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  1. #1

    Default Hunting with a knee injury?

    Chances are there's a good possibility that I tore my ACL this past weekend. Nothing confirmed yet but all the symptoms are there. Among other things, one of my biggest concerns is being able to hunt this fall. In doing some internet doctoring,it looks like once the swelling goes down you should be able to walk ok. I know if I had to get surgery now, it would definitely impact me this fall. My question is, anyone else gone through something like this? Am I crazy to think that I could put off surgery until after the season and get by with a brace and IB Profrun? Any advice would be great! Thanks!

  2. #2


    It can most definitely been done. A good brace, a slow pace, lots of waddling,and some good, willing partners,

  3. #3


    Knee brace and trekking poles especially when going down hill! Good luck

  4. #4


    Thanks for the link Ovis! Congrats on the great hunt! Gives me hope that I can have a portion of the success that you did!

  5. #5


    Back in 2008 I got a hernia on a moose hunt, trying to throw a bag of someone else's meat into the back of a pickup. I then went on an elk hunt. Two of us had cow elk tags in NM, and wound up taking two cows a mile and a half from the road. That was a long day. Every so often I had to lie down and relax, so that the swelling would go down. It did not hurt, just kept swelling.

    Hobbling through the woods chasing elk beats the pants out of sitting on the sofa wishing you were hunting. Good luck. Let us know how you do.

    Maybe I'll see you out there. We have big game combo tags this year for MT.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Siloam Springs, AR


    Like the others have said it can be done. Get a good acl specific knee brace (not a mueller from walmart). Trekking poles are another good thing to have. Atleast one partner, definitely wouldn't go solo with an acl tear. Some good things to do would be a lot of stretching and leg strengthening exercises. Also take it easy and don't over do things that can make it worse.
    The more i know, the more i know that i dont know -cody jinks

    Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison -genesis 27-3

  7. #7


    I did it as well. Tore my ACL less than a month before my hunt in Idaho. I missed one day of work due to the swelling and pain, then went right back at it. Walking wasn't bad until I put my foot in a dip or something off-center. That would start to make my knee "give" and cause brief pain. Went on my hunt with a good knee brace and managed pretty well. As mentioned, downhill was the worst part. I never connected on an elk so I have no clue how it would have been packing any weight. As far as getting it fixed, I had the replacement done. Had a part from a cadaver put in. I was off work for 4 months, did my therapy, and it's as good as ever! Good luck!
    Guns don't kill people. Dads with pretty daughters do!

  8. #8


    I've done it with the massive Ibuprofen doses and made it thru an elk hunt in AZ and a muley hunt in ID. That was five years ago. FWIW, I developed bone on bone damage in both knees that DID result in my missing a late season No.Kaibab muley hunt and spoiled a SD pheasant hunt (couldn't walk). I had bilateral knee replacements two years ago. The left knee is finally feeling good, but I developed a staph infection in my right knee that required a surgery to remove the old implants and about a third of the bone in my upper tibia, 50 days of IV Daptamycin, and a third surgery to put in new implants. I'm 10 months past the the new implants and I'm still working to get strong again. I have an elk hunt at the Grand Canyon starting on December 1st and I'm going come hell or high water. My advice is to get the proper treatment and don't damage your kidneys from NSAID poisoning like I did. I can't take Ibuprofen now, and never should again. Just focus and do it and get healthy. GJ

  9. Default

    I killed 2 turkeys one season on a broken foot crutching into the woods. Not exactly the same thing, but similar idea.

    Motivated people will always work harder in physical therapy and tend to recover more quickly. If you figure out the fine line between hurting and injuring yourself you can pull off a lot. Good hunting partners are basically a requirement when you aren't at 100%.

  10. #10


    I am reading this while waiting for the DR to come and examine my left knee. This will be my 3rd time I have had to have surgery. Pretty sure I tore my miniscus again. Last year I hunted white tails on chrutches. Anything can be done it is just how much do you want it and are you prepared for the consequences if it should go south.

  11. #11


    Had a significant bone bruise at bottom of right femur that extended several inches upward towards the hip. Never figured out how the femur injury arose as should have been memorable moment such as a vicious judo kick, serious car wreck or belly-flopping off a curb but I had spent the prior day in conference room meetings, sitting in taxis and airports and sitting on airplanes. Went to bed at 1am feeling tired due to long flight delays on both legs of the flight home and when my alarm went off at 6am I stood up only to fall over from pain almost going out the 2nd story window. Thought was a muscle cramp for a few seconds then as woke up a bit more I realized the knee joint was the source of the pain.

    I gutted it out 9 weeks before went to doctor and he spent 15 minutes manipulating my knee and said was not a joint issue so I went for a scan and that revealed the nasty femur bruise.

    I used a cane to take pressure off the right knee and the bruise resolved itself over the next few months which included 3 pronghorn hunts and my first trip on what became two trips to fill a moose tag. I had to move slow and be very sure of my footing since if my weight got directly over my right knee as was losing balance then was very painful for several minutes.

    My advice is if the doc says surgery is needed, book the surgery and if you miss hunts then you miss hunts. If the doc says the knee will mostly heal itself if you take things easy then avoid the surgery and get used to the new normal. I was not in good physical shape last fall due to inability to put full weight on my right knee for 8 months so I could not work out other than swim. Pain last summer and autumn plus stress from worrying I would end up in a pile on the ground like a turtle on its back plus degraded physical fitness made my hunts more of an ordeal than adventure.

  12. Default

    My opinion is i would have your ACL fixed before season and rehab it hard for the next few months. If you dont you will find yourself putting undo stress on your other leg/knee to compensate for your weak knee. Your ACL is the main legimant in your knee and is the one that keeps everything in line and supports your knee

  13. #13


    Good advice all around, thank you guys! I'm still waiting to hear from the Ortho Dr to set up an appointment. My fiancé isn't exactly thrilled with me either, as our wedding is in a few weeks. Should make for an interesting next few weeks!

  14. #14


    I blew mine skiing in about 2002 when I was in my early 20's, finally got it repaired in 2009. It definitely changed the way I hunted, but I was still able to get out and do it, harvested a big horn ram the year before I went under the knife. I just knew there were certain positions I couldn't put my knee in or it would pop out. Hindsight I should have went in and got it repaired sooner as a good portion of my meniscus had to get cut away from damage over the years. I had it done in March and was 90% by mid summer. If you get it done listen to your Physical Therapist and do your exercises religiously.

  15. #15


    I tore my meniscus in my good knee while coming out of this canyon packing a tahr. My leg had become like a wet noodle. This happened early on in my NZ hunt so afterwards all my hunting was limited to short distances from the vehicle and leaning heavily on a trekking pole. I still managed to arrow a nice Chamois, 2 Wallabies, and 2 goats.
    Attached Images Attached Images      

  16. #16


    Trekking. Poles.

    I've got less than great knees and will not go deep into the mountains without poles again.

  17. #17


    I tore my ACL, MCL, and a meniscus back in my basketball days. Even if you put off getting it fixed, start rehabbing now. The stronger everything else in the knee is, the easier it is for any repairs to heal. Get fitted for a custom knee brace, you'll need it anyway. I had a patellar tendon graft and was playing baseball 3 weeks post-op and football at 4 weeks but doc wasn't happy with that. I still only have about 85% range of motion in that knee. Good luck.
    "You have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money, compliments, or publicity." - Eddie Rickenbacker, WWI fighter pilot

    "Never mistake hope for a plan." Herman Edwards

  18. #18


    I tore my ACL in 2011 at the age of 30. I got an Ossür CTS carbon fiber brace (one of the few braces rated for use in saltwater). I hunted Turkey with just the brace prior to surgery, and archery hunted after surgery for the next two seasons. I opted for the patellar graft option, as I am still very active in team and water sports. The cadaver option stretches after about ten years, and I couldn't see taking two of my hamstrings for the surgery. I planneed on pack hunting for at least the next 30 years. At 6 months, I was cleared by the flight doc to fly (which is amazing) and 1 year later, zero pain. I still have a nickel sized numb spot on the side of my knee, but played soccer, softball, wakeboarded, surfed and hunted without that brace after 18 months. Good luck. The post surgery pain is paralyzing, but only lasts a couple weeks.
    "My dinner is still in the woods." -Unknown

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