Top Safety Tips to Avoid a Hunting Accident
Thousands of Americans hunt every year for sport and sustenance. An experienced hunter should be skilled with a rifle or bow, patient and focused. Hunters need to be aware of the potential risks involved in the sport as there are hundreds of hunting accidents every year. Firearm accidents, slipping on unstable terrain or animal attacks are very real hazards to be aware of while hunting.
The International Hunter Education Association gathers hunting related data including the number of people killed and injured in hunting accidents each year. According to their reports, approximately 1,000 people in the US and Canada are accidentally shot by hunters every year, and just under a hundred of those accidents are fatalities. Although most victims are hunters, some non-hunters are also killed or injured each year.
One of the best ways to be safe and prepared for a great hunting trip is to take a hunter safety program. Some states actually require them before you can apply for a hunting license. Most states offer courses in hunter safety, and for convenience, many are provided over the Internet. Most programs require hunters to participate in a field day to demonstrate hands-on knowledge. The International Hunter Education Association (IHEA) has an online course that you can complete but this should only be used as a supplement to a state run hunter safety program.
Hunting Safety Tips
Tip 1: Practice gun safety.
- When you see, pick up or point a gun, assume that it is loaded.
- Always keep your safety on until ready to shoot.
- Point the barrel down while you are walking or transporting the gun.
- Do not climb up or down a tree or over a fence with a loaded gun. It is best to hand your gun to a hunting partner with the safety on and have them hand it back to you when you are in position.
- Store and transport ammunition separate from your guns.
- Keep both your guns and your ammunition under lock and key.
- Store firearms and bows in cool dry places.
Tip 2: Wear hunter orange so other hunters know you’re a person and not an animal.
- You can find inexpensive vests and other accessories at any hunting supply store.
Tip 3: Be 1000% sure of your Target before shooting. It is better to miss an opportunity than to shoot a person or the wrong animal!
- Never shoot at a sound or movement.
- Make sure you have located an animal and not a human.
- Make sure the animal matches your hunting tag(s).
- Make sure there are no humans/other animals in the way of or just beyond your shot. High powered ammunition can travel up to one mile.
Tip 4: Make sure the animal is really dead before strapping it up to take away.
Tip 5: Always hunt straight and sober.
Tip 6: Do not bring small children with you hunting.
Tip 7: Hunt with a buddy. If that is not an option, make sure someone knows where you will be and a time to expect you back. Carry a GPS radio, if possible, to stay in touch and be certain of your location.
Tip 8: If you use a tree stand, don’t forget to wear a safety belt.
Tip 9: Be familiar with the terrain and weather and wear appropriate clothing/shoes.
- Is it rocky or hilly?
- What is the way back?
- Is it expected to rain?
- When is sunset?
Tip 10: Carry a pack with plenty of water, snacks and a flashlight in case you end up out there for longer than expected.
Tip 11: Before the start of hunting season and before using any new or borrowed equipment, make sure you understand how your equipment works and that it is functioning properly.
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