As a sport, hunting racks up fewer injuries per 100,000 participants than sports like tennis or golf. This low rate of injury is due in large part to individual hunters’ extra concern about safety. Hunting education courses became mandatory in 1987 and have contributed to a culture of safety in the hunting world. Before you head out, brush up on these top safety tips for deer hunting season.
Handle Weapons With Care
When holding a gun, crossbow, or other weapon in your hands, always act like it’s loaded, or “hot,” even if you don’t think it is. Avoid horseplay and goofing around when weaponry is involved, and don’t shoot at sound or movement. Only point your gun at targets you intend to shoot, and make sure you see that target clearly before pulling the trigger.
Make sure other hunters can see you by wearing bright clothing. Hunter orange, as the name implies, is a popular option. Camouflage and earth-toned colors blend in too much. While you’d think that would be good for concealing yourself from deer, camouflage clothing also conceals you from other armed human beings in the area. If you’re injured by a stray bullet or if you accidentally shoot another hunter, seek assistance immediately. You can determine who was at fault later; medical attention is the highest priority.
Know Where You Are
Wherever you’re hunting, know the lay of the land before you head out. If you’re on private property, the property owner has a responsibility to warn you of any dangerous terrain out there. Remember and remain aware of any hazards out in the woods, like fallen branches or uneven ground. You should also know where the property ends! Stay within set boundaries and avoid wandering onto somebody else’s land.
Hunting is a great bonding activity between friends and family, and you may be tempted to share a few beers while you’re out there. However, alcohol and weapons can be a deadly combination. Wait until you’re home and your guns are unloaded and stored before cracking open a cold one. (The same goes for any recreational drugs. As long as you’re armed, your head must be clear and alert.)
While some of these tips may appear to be common sense, we all need refresher courses on that common sense once in a while. Before you pick up any firearms or other weaponry, make sure you’re doing so safely and carefully. These safety tips for deer hunting season will remind you to take care of both yourself and other hunters while you’re out there.