Keeping Hunting Safe. Part I
Keeping Hunting Safe. Part I
Hunting is one of the safest outdoor activities in the U.S., with an injury rate below cycling and many other sports and this is not because of luck, but due to hunters awareness about safety importance; in fact, in most states, a hunting education course is mandatory before having a hunting license.
But education courses alone are not enough, it's individual awareness as well teaching from one hunters generation to the other about keeping hunting safe and how to proceed properly to avoid injuries to other hunters in the field.
Perhaps most safety tips might be considered as common-sense matter, but what makes hunting safe is to proceed consciously with every single safety action. After all, even the tiniest mistake might lead to a catastrophe when you mix firearms, wild animals, bad weather, and so on.
Let's remember the basic tips to keep you and your hunting fellow safe during your hunting raids.
1. Orange vest, orange vest, orange vest
That's all. It's never said too much. An orange vest is the only way other hunters have to identify you as a human and not as a game. Wearing an orange vest is the only and best way to tell all other hunters in the area you are there and a shoot must be avoided.
2. Orange marks
It's almost the same but at the same time something completely different.
If you are hunting from a concealed blind, there's no way other hunters may see you even when you are using your orange vest, after all inside the blind they can't see you.
But they do see your blind by the outside, so be sure to add orange marks on each side to inform other hunters in the area there's a blind here and you should not shoot towards it!
Otherwise, especially if you made a great work concealing your blind, there's a real risk of getting shoot inside your own blind.
3. Don't shoot because of movement of sound
A noisy movement in the bushes is not enough to make a shot. It might be your dreamed game but also a hunting fellow, so NEVER shot unless you have visual confirmation that your target is really a game and not another hunter or a hunting hound.
4. Not all animals out there are games
Be aware of what your permit allows to hunt and what not. Depending on species, even an accidental kill may results in penalties because of wildlife protection laws, so be completely aware of local regulations in order to avoid law infringement.
On the other hand, remember about hounds and potential domestic animals out in the hunting ground. They are not games, avoid accidentally shooting them.
5. Be aware of what's behind the target
Perhaps you have a clear shot, the game has been identified and you are ready to pull the trigger but, are you completely sure about what's beyond your target?
If the answer is no, then stop the shot. To have a clear shot you must be sure there's nothing between you and your target but also beyond. In the case you miss, that bullet will end below the target and it's mandatory to be sure there's nobody on that position who might result accidentally injured. So if you are not sure there's nobody behind the target, simply don't shoot.
As you may see, everything may seem simple, and just applying common sense might be enough to keep you and your partners safe.
But when you are exhaust, cold, and in the middle of an adrenaline rush because you might have in front of your the shoot of a lifetime, your judgment might get blurred and an accident might occur unless every single safety behaviors have been internalized and are conducted consciously.
So, work hard to avoid automatic actions and proceed with full awareness about safety measures and behaviors, keeping safe this way everyone out in the bushes.