Hunting is one of those sports where SAFETY FIRST isn’t just a saying. Adhering to the rule of SAFETY FIRST can literally save lives. Unfortunately, every year there are stories of hunters who don’t live to see another hunting season because safety was not a priority. Don’t become a statistic! Follow these tips for staying safe this hunting season so you can have fun and bring home that trophy deer.
Dress the Part
Only those with a death wish will rustle around into the woods during hunting season dressed in earth tones or camouflage. If you only read or use one safety tip from this post, make it this one: wear blaze orange from head to toe! A bright orange hat and coat/vest will instantly identify you as a person to any other hunter in the area who hears the cracking of leaves under your feet. Not too many deer are known to don orange clothing (except for the smart ones). It’s also imperative that you protect your eyes and ears from the effects of shooting a gun. Goggles will keep debris out of your eyes, and noise-reducing earmuffs will protect your hearing from gunfire. And if you bring a trusty hunting dog with you, be kind to them and slap a pair of earmuffs on them too. Protect them from hearing loss, which is very common in hunting dogs as they get older.
Make Your Presence Known
Just like with fishing, it’s helpful if you can tiptoe around and sneak up on your prey. But while being stealthy may help you bag that 10-point buck, it might also help you get shot! Making a little noise is good so that anyone else in the area who has their ear to the ground for prancing hooves will be aware that there are other hunters around too. Whistle or sing your favorite song, talk with your fellow hunter(s), or wear a bell on you as you wander through the woods. In addition to making noise, if you follow the previous tip of dressing in hunter’s orange, your chances of having a bullet whiz past your head should be pretty slim. And that’s a good thing!
Those NO TRESPASSING signs that you see nailed onto trees and fences? They’re there for a reason and you should always obey them. Always make sure you are allowed to hunt where you are planning to go BEFORE you get there. If necessary, ask the property owner for permission and for any details regarding the property that you should be aware of. Never assume you can just sneak onto someone’s land to go hunting. A landowner who’s willing to let you onto their property could quickly become one who’s ticked off because you didn’t ask for permission.
Under Lock & Key
A good rule of thumb when dealing with guns is to always keep them locked up when not in use, and also to store the guns and ammunition in separate places. Keeping them separate is just an added layer of protection that can help thwart any tragedy, whether it’s accidental or on purpose. If you’re shacking up in the woods in your hunting RV or cabin, you never know who may be lurking in the surrounding woods. Keeping your guns and ammo locked up while you have a few drinks by the campfire after a day of hunting just helps keep everyone safe.
Every Gun Is a Loaded Gun
Assume that any gun you pick up is already loaded! Never pull the trigger thinking that a gun isn’t loaded! And never put your finger on the trigger if you’re not intending to shoot. Haphazardly putting your finger on the trigger is just a disaster waiting to happen. Treat every firearm as if it’s locked and loaded so that you and everyone around you stay safe. Never treat a gun as if it’s a toy.
Keep It Dry
If you’re bringing along a cooler full of beer, keep the alcohol to a minimum and only enjoy a drink or two when NOT hunting. Meaning only when the guns are locked up and secure. Guns and alcohol are a lethal combination and one that should never be part of a hunting trip. Only bad things can happen when a gun ends up in the hands of someone who’s had one too many beers.
Be Prepared for Anything
It’s best to be ready for any kind of cut, scrape, or wound when out in the boonies, even though hopefully none of them will happen. But just in case, always travel with a fully stocked first aid kit that has all the essentials for first aid. It’s easiest to just buy a pre-made one, but you can custom make one if you wish. Also, know where the nearest medical facility is once you choose your hunting location. The last thing you want to be doing when dealing with a potentially life-threatening situation is googling the nearest hospital in a place that probably has spotty cell service.
Do you have a hunting tip to share? Use our Comment section below to help keep our readers safe this hunting season!