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What Is Buck Fever?

No hunter is immune to buck fever and unfortunately, there is no cure

SCIENCE DAILY.COM From the Archives – Hundreds of dollars spent on gear. Endless hours devoted to prepping stands. Cameras checked — and rechecked — scouting for “the one.” It’s what you’ve been waiting for all year long — deer season — and hunters across the country are flocking to the woods. Unfortunately for some, the thrill of the hunt can become all too real.

Imagine this: Out steps the trophy buck you’ve dreamed about since last season wrapped. You ready your bow or gun, set your sights on the wild game and suddenly, you find it hard to breathe or keep your hands stable. Seems that a case of “buck fever” has set in, and unfortunately, there is no cure.

What triggers buck fever?

Buck fever is typically described as the nervousness hunters get when they first sight game. Many hunters have stories about buck fever, and usually they say their hands were shaking so hard that they missed the broadside of a buck from 100 yards away. Still, there’s no reason to worry; apart from the embarrassment, buck fever doesn’t really have any lasting effects.

Everyone reacts to buck fever in their own way. In some small cases they may just have shaky and sweaty hands; however, in other cases, they may have chest pain, breathing troubles or increased blood pressure.

To fully understand what buck fever is, it’s best to break it down to its key elements, and the main chemical behind buck fever: adrenaline. “Adrenaline comes from the adrenal gland, above the kidney,” said Jeffrey B. Michel, MD, a cardiologist and clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Medicine. “It’s a powerful stimulant that increases blood pressure, heart rate and metabolic pressure. It’s like pushing a gas pedal on a car.” Like any other substance coursing through the body, though, adrenaline does have side effects, including shortness of breath and tremors. [full article]

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