Hunting is an appropriate activity for all ages, and when proper precautions are followed, quite safe. If you are new to hunting, educating yourself on the best ways to keep yourself and others safe is of paramount importance. Hunting safety is actually pretty straightforward, but this does not mean you can ‘figure it out’ on your own as you go—you must make the time to learn. Here are just a few considerations to get you started on your fact-finding mission.
Basic Gun Safety Rules
The first area of hunting safety which requires your attention is that of firearm use. Even a small error can have deadly consequences. There are some basic rules that have been established, and when followed each and every time, greatly minimize the risk of a serious incident.
Assume every firearm is loaded. Control the muzzle and always point the gun in a safe direction. Until you are ready to shoot, keep your finger off the trigger. Be certain of your target and the area beyond it. Treat any gun with respect. Check the barrel and action to be sure they are clear from obstructions. If you don’t intend to shoot something, never point your gun in its direction. Do not carry a loaded gun while jumping a ditch or log, or climbing a fence or tree. Don’t shoot at water or flat, hard surfaces. Service it regularly and don’t modify or alter it in any way. Handle it with extreme care if you pull the trigger and it doesn’t fire.
While not always a law in a particular state, it is a good idea to wear hunter orange on your outings. You may be concerned such a bright color will make you visible to game, but animals, such as deer, do not see colors in the same way, and can’t tell colors like orange and red from green and brown.
Hunter orange makes it less likely another hunter will mistake you for an animal—hunters who wear this color are seven times less likely to be shot. So, as you can see, it is a good idea to get your hunter orange gear..you can easily find this at many outdoor sporting stores, and online stores devoted to hunting gear and accessories, such as INeedMoreGear.com.
Tree stands were first used by bowhunters who needed that close shot, but are also now used by firearm hunters as well. Advantages include a good view, your scent not being picked up by deer that are very close and a good spot to conceal yourself from deer that are in close proximity. They can be dangerous though, and reports of death and injury seem to be increasing.
Use a sturdy, portable stand.—permanent ones nailed into the tree are difficult to move. Rot weakens the woods, increasing the risk of falling right through them. Wood, even pressure treated wood, is susceptible to growths that make the surface slippery. Don’t go higher than 15 to 20 feet. Use a safety belt to climb as most injuries occur when going up or down the tree. Use a rope to raise and lower guns—never carry them while climbing.