Fall hunting season is here, and with it comes an opportunity to engage with nature. Hunting can also be a valuable tool for managing wildlife, especially deer populations. Even in today’s modern age, hunting is an excellent way to provide food for friends and family. It is also a great opportunity for maintaining and creating new opportunities for fellowship.
As you go out into the woods for a few days, don’t forget to take precautions to keep yourself and those around you safe. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Guns and Bows
4 Rules of Gun and Bow Safety:
- Treat every gun as if it were loaded.
- Always point the muzzle of the firearm in a safe direction.
- Keep fingers away from the trigger except when ready to fire.
- Positively identify your target as well as what is behind it before shooting.
- Make sure a firearm is unloaded every time it is handled.
- A “safety” is a mechanical device that can fail.
- Use ammunition or arrows that are appropriate for the gun or bow.
- Before crossing a fence, unload firearms or place any arrows in the quiver then place them on the ground under the fence or hand them to someone across the fence.
- Do not substitute a scope mounted to a rifle for binoculars.
- In the event a firearm is dropped, make sure it is unloaded, then remove dirt or other obstructions from inside and outside the barrel.
Always remember to practice safety first. Once the shot is fired, it can never be taken back.
Tree Stand Safety
- Always inspect trees to make sure they are healthy with no dead branches or trunks before climbing or installing stands.
- Use the three-point method of contact: two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot in contact with steps.
- Go slowly when climbing a tree.
- Use string or rope to raise and lower firearms, bows and other equipment into elevated stands or blinds.
General Safety Tips
- Follow local hunting laws and regulations.
- Never use drugs or alcohol when target shooting or hunting.
- Wear rubber gloves when field dressing game.
- Wear a helmet when riding an ATV.
- Inform someone about plans and locations before hunting.
- Hunter Orange: Wear hunter orange to identify yourself to other hunters when hunting for upland birds and big game such as deer.
- Climbing Rope: Use a climbing rope when installing tree stands.
- Full-Body Safety Harness: Use a full-body safety harness to protect yourself from falls when hunting from a tree stand.
- Helping Hand: Make sure a helper is present when installing a hanging or ladder tree stand.
For more hunting information:
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Read the full article
“Hunting Season Begins With a Review of Safety,” by Steven Smith, wildlife and fisheries consultant, at www.noble.org/hunting-season-safety.