The Whitetail’s Amazing Lung Capacity

God created man with “extra” capacities. At rest, humans only use a small part of their lungs. While you are sitting reading this, the lowest part of your own lungs are not well ventilated. Likewise, the upper part of your own lungs are well ventilated, but not well supplied with blood. We call this in physiology a ventilation (air)-perfusion (blood) mismatch. But, at rest we don’t have to use a high volume of oxygen, so the mismatch between available air and blood flow (to pick up and deliver the oxygen) doesn’t matter. When we exercise hard, we have maximal ventilation (air available) coupled with maximal cardiac output (blood flow designed to pick up the oxygen).

I am fairly certain that exactly the same thing happens with whitetails. At rest, they use only a small portion of their lungs and cardiac capacity. When running all-out, they are making maximal use of their heart and lungs. So, what a deer is doing physically at the time it is shot, and what it does for the next minutes and hours may determine its ability to survive, even with a lung wound.

Running deer bleed out and die more quickly, whereas resting deer don’t need as much capacity and may survive. Blood pressure and flow are much lower and the opportunity to clot is much higher in a bedded deer compared to the higher blood pressure and flow to support an all-out effort to run.

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