The fall hunting season begins soon. Hunters will return to their favorite areas, or perhaps try a new spot, looking for the perfect buck or other types of prey. You are ready to take your best .223 bolt action rifle and shotgun from your weapons safe, get your favorite bow for bow season out of storage, and prep your weapons for the new season.
Staying safe during hunting season means adhering to not only basic firearms and weapon handling precautions, but also paying attention to specific safety rules applicable to hunting.
These hunting safety tips will refresh the memories of seasoned and new hunters alike and help keep you safe while enjoying the great outdoors.
It never hurts to review basic firearms safety practices. If you are taking your child hunting, sit them down and spend a few minutes going over these firearm safety standards:
- Always treat every gun as if it is loaded.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
- Never point a weapon, loaded or unloaded, at anyone.
- Before taking a shot, clearly identify your target and what is beyond it.
Don’t Break the Law
Hunting laws protect the hunters as well as wildlife. Most states require hunters to pass a certified hunting safety course before obtaining a hunting license.
Check with the appropriate authority to determine what areas are open to hunting and what areas are off-limits.
Never hunt out of season.
Dress for the Weather
Many hunters get in trouble each season by not dressing warmly enough. You are a risk for hyperthermia even with temperatures as high as 50 degrees.
Dress in layers. Use a water-repelling outer layer and make sure your boots are also water-repellant.
Check the weather reports before going out in the woods so you are not caught unaware and unprepared.
Wear the Right Color Clothing
Hunters orange is called that for a reason. Ensure you have on bright orange or bright colored vests and hats to clearly mark you as a hunter.
If you wear camouflage, browns, or tones and shades that allow you to blend into your surroundings, other hunters may mistake you for prey.
Every year, unfortunately, someone gets accidently wounded due to mistaken identity by an over-anxious hunter.
Tree Stand Safety
Many hunters use tree stands. A stand is a great hunting tool. However, tree stands can be very dangerous.
Always remain aware of the edges of the stand or platform. Going out in the woods in the early morning and spending long hours in your stand waiting for the game to come in range creates the perfect opportunity for you to nod off and slip or fall out of the stand.
Avoid Hunting Alone
It’s always better to have someone with you to watch your back.
In the event of an emergency, the uninjured party can provide first aid or go for help.
Even small injuries, such as a sprained ankle or twisted knee, can become life-threatening when alone in the woods.
At a minimum, always tell someone where you are hunting and when you expect to return.
Non-Hunter Safety During Hunting Season
Even if you don’t hunt, following many of these hunting safety tips will keep you safe.
Find out where and when hunting is allowed and avoid those areas if possible and wear loud, bright clothing.
If you hear a shot close by and think you may have inadvertently wandered into a hunting area, exit the area as quickly as possible and make noise by singing or talking to yourself to let hunters know you are not game!
Keep your pets safe too, and don’t let them off-leash during hunting season, especially if they like to chase deer and other animals.