Hunting season is in full swing. If you’re on the hunt for game this year, we encourage you to review these 5 hunting safety tips before you go.
1.Follow best practices for firearm safety:
- Store and transport our firearms unloaded and locked
- Treat every firearm as if it were loaded
- Always point the muzzle in a safe direction
- Be certain of your target and what’s beyond it. Only point at what you plan to shoot
- Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot
- Wear blaze orange to be visible to other hunters
2. Alert someone of your plans.
Never head out on a hunting trip without letting a friend or relative know where you’ll be and when you expect to return. Let people know where you’ll be hunting, where your vehicle is parked, and when you intend to return. When possible, hunt with a buddy. Also carry a cell phone, walkie-talkie, or other means of communicating just in case.
3. Plan for the weather.
Hunters can be at risk for hypothermia in cold, wet conditions, but also in temperatures as high as 50˚ F. Dress in warm layers, avoiding moisture-retaining cotton and remembering a water-repelling outer layer. Have extra dry clothes to change into. Before setting out, check the weather report to make sure you won’t be caught off guard by other inclement weather.
4.Practice safety guidelines if using a tree stand.
Falls from tree stands continue to be the leading cause of injury for hunters. The good news is that these falls are preventable if you consider the following:
- Use a full-body harness
- Purchase a tree stand with a large enough platform and seating area to help you feel more secure. Read any weight restrictions and plan accordingly.
- Select a healthy, straight tree that will work well with the guidelines outlined for your tree stand specifications.
- Keep your hands free when climbing. Use a rope to haul up your firearm or bow. Always keep firearms unloaded until you are securely in place in your tree stand.
- Take your time and know your limitations. If the stand feels insecure or too high, it probably is.
5. Utilize online resources before you go:
- Know your state and local regulations by checking with your state’s Department of Natural Resources
- Complete and online course from Hunter-Ed.com
- Check out the International Hunter Education Association (IHEA) resources for instructors and students nationwide
- Take a free online Tree Stand safety course
- Visit the Treestand Manufacturers Association website
If hunting’s not your thing, we encourage you to still be aware of your surroundings.
- Try to avoid heavy hunting areas and seasons if you can.
- Avoid wearing colors and patterns that blend into your surroundings, including whites, blacks, browns, earth tones, animal patterns and camouflage.
- Make some noise if you’re out and about. This includes talking loudly (to yourself or a companion), whistling or singing, especially if you hear a shot nearby.
- Don’t let dogs off-leash in an area that allows hunting, especially if they like to chase deer.
Follow these tips and stay safe while enjoying the outdoors this season.