Staying safe is underrated, but staying safe while hunting is essential. As hunters, we all eventually end up helping a new or young hunter get started in the outdoors. Hunting safety is the foundation that all good hunting careers are built on, and we all owe it to ourselves and new hunters to stress safety. Here are four ways that can help make that happen.
Gun accidents are actually rare in the hunting world, but injuries are prevalent and can often lead to death. Some states don’t require hunter safety for all hunters, but every new hunter should receive professional instruction in safety anyway. If physically attending a class is not an option, there are online programs that a future hunter can take. One organization that offers classes is the International Hunter Education Association (IHEA). Being safe is a learning process so why not learn from the experts? New hunters deserve it.
Don’t Hunt Alone
Hunting with a partner is safer than hunting alone. Not only can a partner assist you if you need help, but they can also help you be more aware and help you with retrieving and loading game. If certain conditions are lined up, a simple twist of a knee can end up being deadly. One of the most important benefits of having a hunting partner is to lessen the chances of getting lost.
Tree Stand Safety
The most dangerous aspect of trees stands is that they are elevated. Falling out of tree stands makes up a good portion of fatal hunting injuries. It is serious business to put one’s self 20 feet up a tree. For me, my greatest challenge while tree stand hunting is staying awake. All that fresh air and stillness makes me tired, and getting tired in a tree stand can be deadly. Wearing a safety strap or harness will guarantee that you don’t fall. Staying awake is up to you.
Know Your Target
Knowing your target is the epitome of common sense, but we all know of smart and capable people who have done dumb things. Nobody wants to live with the fact that they shot someone, so target recognition must be drilled into all new hunters. This practice will also make better hunters as it will help to ensure clean kills.
The number one rule of handling a weapon is to assume it is loaded. The number two rule is to always make sure your muzzle is pointed in a safe direction. Following rule #2 will cancel out rule #1.