Like any other sport, hunting is a favorite among many people every year. Although hunting mishaps are rare, injuries and fatalities are still a common occurrence. Luckily, these accidents are preventable by carefully following precautions on hunting and gun handling. If you’re planning to hunt this season, you need to be mindful of potential hazards to avoid injuries.
Depending on the state you’re living in, a hunting education course might be a requirement. If you’re living in Texas, every hunter born in the state on or after September 2, 1971, should complete a Texas Hunters Safety Course.
During hunting, you must know the surroundings well. Here are several tips to prevent injuries during hunting:
1. Always Inspect Equipment And Stands
If you’re using permanent tree stands, make sure to double-check before using one because they’re prone to deteriorating over time. An average fall from a tree stand is around 15 feet. Any injuries you’ll sustain from falling from that height can result in fractures, paralysis, or even death.
Always inspect the stability of tree stands before using them. Use safety belts or harnesses to be sure. Additionally, keep the harnesses on until you’re down on the ground safely.
2. Observe Firearm Handling Safety At All Times
Know how to handle your firearm while hunting, which can greatly minimize the chances of injury. One of the basic safety rules is to assume that every gun is loaded, even if you’re very much aware that it’s not.
Other gun safety considerations include the following:
- Ensure your target before taking the shot, specifically in low-light conditions such as dawn or dusk.
- Avoid running when your gun is loaded.
- Every step you take should be with the gun barrel pointing down.
- Always check for obstructions in the barrel and chamber whenever a gun is in your possession.
- Make sure that the safety mechanism is on, with your finger far from the trigger unless you’re prepared to shoot.
Before pulling the trigger, you should know your target for sure. Until the target is in full view and good light, use your binoculars to determine what’s in front of and behind it. Avoid taking shots at animals on top of ridges or hillsides as you don’t know what’s on the other side. Try not to shoot at flat or hard surfaces either, such as rock or water, due to the ricochets.
3. Know About Your Safe Zone-Of-Fire
The safe zone-of-fire is the area or direction where you can safely fire a shot. If you’re in a shooting facility, it’s downrange.
No matter which hunting destination you are, know the location of your companions at all times. Avoid swinging your weapon out of your safe zone of fire. If you’re having doubts, never take a shot.
4. Wear Proper Clothing And Gear
While hunting, make sure you wear hunter orange or blaze pink to identify your hunting location, ensuring that you’re visible to others hunting in the area.
Make sure the clothing you’ll be wearing prevents exposure to cold temperatures or poisonous insects or plants.
Your ears and eyes are prone to various hazards while hunting, so it’s crucial to ensure the right protection. Firearms can produce a high-decibel sound that can impair hearing while also discharging small projectile particles that can damage your eyes. With this in mind, you need to wear safety glasses and ear protection at all times.
5. Learn Basic First Aid
One way to be ready for any injuries during your hunting trip is to enroll in a basic first aid course. Here, you’ll learn how to perform hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation involving chest compressions (if one ends up with a heart attack) and basic care for common injuries. Moreover, bring along a first aid kit to allow you to manage minor injuries along the way properly.
6. Bring Along Communication Devices
For your hunting trip, make sure to bring along communication devices such as whistles and two-way radios. You’ll never know when you might end up lost or separated from your group. Most hunting accidents are likely to occur if a group gets separated and cannot find each other again.
7. Avoid Alcohol Or Drugs
Remember that alcohol and drugs can impair normal physical and mental bodily functions. Avoid using them before or while handling firearms. These substances can also affect your emotions, so you’ll lose control more likely.
The majority of hunting accidents are preventable, regardless of the hunting destination you’re heading to. Whether you’re a novice or seasoned pro, make sure to carefully follow safety precautions, such as wearing the proper gear and treating your firearm as if it’s loaded at all times. Observing these basic hunting safety considerations can minimize your risk of injury while hunting and make the experience safer for everyone.