Hey there hunters and welcome to my post where we will check out my 10 hunting safety tips this year. Hunting is a popular outdoor sport that requires concentration, skill and patience.
It is also however a pastime that can be extremely dangerous if you are not careful. Firstly and most obviously, you are dealing with firearms and secondly, you are also spending time out in the wilderness and the elements. So to keep up protected, let’s check out my 10 tips for a safe hunting trip.
Hunting Safety Tips
As above, let’s check out my 10 tips for hunting safety below:
1. Check the weather
Being aware of the weather to expect is a practical step to achieve safety as you hunt so check the weather forecast before you leave to avoid being caught off guard by inclement weather.. If you are hunting in winter for example, you can become hypothermic in cold, wet conditions so make sure you have the right warm gear with you.
On the other hand, extremely hot days can cause heat stroke with symptoms such as heavy sweating, vomiting and fainting. Dress in layers, avoiding moisture-retaining cotton and keeping a water-repellent outer layer in mind.
2. Practice firearm safety
This next tip is another obvious one however as we know, it is critical to use extreme caution when handling a firearm. Hunting injuries and wounds are frequently the result of a lack of care, ignorance or disregard for safety rules and laws. In this regard then, keep the following steps in mind at all times:
- Assume that every gun is loaded.
- Always keep the muzzle pointed away from you and your hunting mates.
- Be certain that you have a visual of your target.
- Never point a firearm at something you don’t want to shoot.
- When not in use, unload guns.
- Separately store firearms and ammunition.
- Check that the barrel and action are free of obstructions.
- With a loaded gun, never climb a fence or tree, cross a log or stream, or jump a ditch.
- Never fire a bullet into a flat, hard surface or water.
- When handling a firearm, never consume alcoholic beverages or drugs.
Make sure all guns you’re transporting are safely unloaded and properly secured in your vehicle before beginning your journey home. Clean your firearm regularly and carefully inspect it for mechanical wear that could cause a problem in the field.
3. Know your weapon
As a follow on from above, knowing your weapon is another strongly advised recommendation when it comes to hunting safety. Take the time to practice with it at a licensed firing range so that you are aware of such influences as:
- Loading/unloading techniques
- Firing distance
- Aim/scope settings
- Carrying and aiming methods
- Gun specific safety requirements (safety switch locations etc.)
- Cleaning and maintenance
- Stabilizer weights etc. (if you are bowhunting)
If you are new to hunting, a gun safety course with a register instructor is also highly recommended as well.
4. Wear suitable clothing
This is another area that we touched on above when discussing the weather, so before selecting appropriate hunting clothing for your day, consider where, when and how you will hunt. If you are out in varying terrain, as is often the case, I recommend layering up to stay comfortable in the often harsh conditions of the cold wilderness.
You might want to add the following accessories to your hunting gear to add an extra layer of safety:
- Ear muffs: These items protect your hearing from the loud noises of hunting guns.
- Eyewear: Protect your eyes from flying dangers such as shrapnel, splinters and insects etc.
- Gloves: These hand protection items will keep your hands warm, especially if you’re hunting in the winter.
- Socks: Wear socks that keep your toes warm, especially during the wet seasons.
Check out these: Hunting Jackets
5. Be aware of other hunters
If it is the hunting season, keep in mind that there might be other hunters in the area. It is critical then to remain aware and alert of your surroundings – and who is in them – while hunting.
Before releasing your shot, look far beyond your target to ensure no other hunters, picnickers, hikers, mountain bikers or anyone else who may be wishing to share the wilderness with you are present. And of course don’t just concentrate on where you prey is, but also for up to a mile behind them as well.
Check out these: Hunting binoculars here
6. Practice treestand safety
Throughout the hunting season, treestand injuries are common. Indeed, according to a study conducted by the International Hunter Education Association (IHEA), one out of every three hunters who hunt from a treestand (also called ladder stands) will fall at some point during their hunting career.
Here are some valuable reminders for treestand use:
- Begin with your stand at ground level and work your way up – if you need help here, many shooting ranges and outdoor education centers have free public practice poles to practice on.
- Follow manufacturer procedures when attaching the stand to a tree.
- Before each season, read the stand manufacturer’s warnings and instructions.
- Only use stands that meet the Treestand Manufacturers Association (TMA) standards and are rated for your weight and all equipment you wear or bring with you on the stand.
- Always wear a safety harness that meets TMA standards and is rated for your weight and any equipment you wear.
- Attach your safety harness to the tree as soon as you leave the ground, throughout the hunt, and when you return to it.
Check out these: Portable hunting ladder stands
7. Learn basic first aid
When it comes to hunting, there are many hazards out there that can cause minor injuries such as cuts, scratches and insect bites. Not to mention broken bones from treestand falls or tripping over rocks etc. too.
Hence for hunting I recommend gaining a good knowledge of first aid and taking an adequately stocked first aid kit with you as well.
Check out these: Emergency survival kits
8. Take your medication
This is not meant to become a section on medical advice but from a hunting point of view, we don’t want to risk making any undue noise when out and about in the woods. Irritants such as mold spores and pollens can be very challenging on for asthmatics and those with allergies.
Remember to bring your albuterol rescue inhaler with you if you have asthma or hayfever medication for irritants in the woods. The first can save your life and the second will simply stop you sneezing and scaring prey away.
9. Observe hunting laws
It is of utmost importance that you adhere to any hunting laws of your local area. These laws are made to conserve hunter safety and the availability of wild animals for future generations and designed to:
- Establish hunting safety guidelines that protect both hunters and non-hunters.
- Manage regulations, licensing and age limits for firearms use.
- Allow equal access to all hunters, regardless of whether they use modern firearms, muzzleloaders, or bows.
- Determine the type of weaponry that can be used.
- Implement hunting seasons to protect wildlife breeding patterns etc.
- Collect license fees to ensure adequate funding for wildlife programs.
All in all, as with fishing licenses, penalties such as massive fines and confiscation of firearms can apply for those that break local hunting laws and regulations
10. Let other know where you are
And finally, you should always notify someone of your hunting plans. Give them as much information as you can about your hunting route as well as any alternate routes you might take should you luck out in the first spot.
If you are out of cell phone range, maybe leave it in your car so it can be traced if need be or purchase yourself a satellite phone if you are away for days at a time. Another option here is a handheld GPS that can not only keep you contactable, but reduce the chances of you getting lost as well.
And there they are, my ten hunting safety tips that will lower the chance of you getting hurt whilst hunting. I would be pleased to know how this article helped you, and as usual, let me know of your experiences here.
Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections, or would like me to check anything else out for you.
Until next time.