Each year hunters head for the woods during the fall turkey and deer hunting seasons. Unfortunately, what is intended to be a time of fun and recreation all too often ends in tragedy. Because of hunting accidents, some hunters never return home, and others are seriously injured. Most accidents are preventable, by diligently following simple safety rules.
A dozen recommendations to prevent hunting accidents:
- Attend a good hunter safety course.
- Be physically fit, dress warm and comfortable, and wear a significant amount of hunter orange clothing so other hunters can see you.
- Make sure you are familiar with the weapon you will be using and any safety instructions for it.
- Do not hunt if you are distracted, overly tired or hurried. Beware of hunting companions who are careless, excited, or overeager.
Wear clothing appropriate for the weather. Protect against frostbite, hypothermia, and other cold-weather injuries. During cold weather, wear several layers of loose-fitting clothing.
- Never mix drinking and hunting and do not hunt with anyone who has been drinking.
- Treat every gun as loaded. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
- Be sure of your target. Never shoot at unidentified noises. Wait until the entire deer, turkey, or other animal is visible, before shooting. Never shoot in the direction of people.
- Carry your gun properly, using both hands. Make sure the safety is on, the finger is outside the trigger guard, and the muzzle is pointed in a safe direction and under control.
- Do not load the weapon until ready to fire. Unload the weapon before crossing a fence or climbing into or out of a tree stand. Never run with a loaded gun. Unload it before putting it into a vehicle.
- Never hunt alone or without telling someone where you will be and when you will return.
- Make sure tree stands are stable and will support your weight. Wear your safety belt. Do not sleep while in the stand. Be careful when firing from a tree stand. Use care when climbing into or out of the stand.
Follow these rules and live to hunt another day.