It might surprise you to know that hunting is a relatively safe activity. In fact, hunting results in fewer injuries than many low-impact sports such as bowling, golf, and tennis. This has a lot to do with the fact that hunters have a healthy respect for rules and safety involved with the sport.
Most seasoned hunters know to follow the Four Rules of Firearm Safety:
- Treat every firearm as though it is loaded.
- Never let the muzzle cover anything you’re not willing to destroy.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
- Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
Be wise in choosing your position.
- Up to 50% of reported hunting accidents involve falls from tree or ladder stands. Remember to wear a harness that is attached to the tree as soon as you begin to climb and adjust it when you reach your position.
Don’t work too hard.
- Heart attacks are common while hunting. Pay attention to your exertion levels and rest when necessary. Stay hydrated and nourished during the day.
Plan your destination ahead of time.
- Even better, take a phone or GPS that is fully charged. It can be easy to become lost or disoriented.
- Use a map, digital or otherwise, to familiarize yourself with the landscape.
- Make sure you tell someone where you plan to be and when you expect to return.
- This seems obvious, but alcohol and hunting are a bad combination. In fact, it is illegal to discharge a firearm while under the influence. The charges and the possible consequences of drinking while hunting are serious.
Be aware of the weather.
- Check the weather before you head out so you can be prepared.
- Hunters should do all that they can to not get caught in snow or rain. If you find yourself in cold and wet conditions, take precautions. Hunters can be at risk for hypothermia in temperatures as high as 50 degrees.
- Dress in layers and remember to wear a water-repellent outer layer.
- Keep moving.
Non-Hunters need to take precautions as well.
- Be sure to avoid wearing clothes that blend into your surroundings. Bright red or orange is best.
- Make some noise if you’re away from the camping area. Even talking or whistling will alert a hunter that you’re nearby.
- Don’t let dogs off their leashes in hunting areas – especially if they like to chase deer.