Many people enjoy hunting for game and often the entire family gets involved in a hunt. Any time people use guns, crossbows or other hunting weapons the need for safety is of prime importance. Every hunter should complete weapons safety training. Take our quiz to learn more about hunting safely.
Hunting requires you to be focused, skilled and patient.
The worst kind is the life-ending kind, usually from the accidental firing of your weapon or being mistaken as quarry by another hunter. The list of possible injuries is endless, ranging from a fall to being attacked by an animal.
All three possible answers are a good idea, but of primary importance is to take a qualified hunting safety course. It is important for you to know about potential dangers before heading out on a hunt.
Most programs require hunters to participate in a field day that includes a shooting test to demonstrate they have learned and can apply the lessons from the course. In the United States, many states require hunters to take a safety course before they can apply for a hunting license.
The IHEA encourages hunters to use its course only as a supplement to a traditional local hunting safety program.
A tree stand is a platform located high in a tree to allow a hunter an elevated view from which to hunt. A person must climb up the tree in order to access the platform.
A tree stand allows a hunter to avoid leaving a strong ground scent that game might detect. Tree stands provide a very small surface upon which the hunter kneels, sits or stands.
You must stay aware of where you are in relation to the edge of the platform. You should not focus on any target to the detriment of your spatial awareness.
Getting on and off a tree stand safely can be quite challenging. There is also the trip up or down the tree to take into account when deciding to use a particular tree stand.
You should always use properly designed fall restraints and harnesses when on a tree stand. Even if you are careful, there is always the chance of falling asleep or slipping off the stand while waiting for game.
It is important to wear your restraints from when you begin your climb until the moment you are safely on the ground again. You should also have a plan on how to lower yourself safely to the ground if your restraint system catches you after a fall.
Whenever possible, you should go hunting with at least one companion. You and your partner can watch out for one another as you hunt.
Let someone else know when and where you will be hunting. You should also establish a time when you will be in contact with that person to let him or her know you are fine at the end of your hunting trip.
You should always leave the hunting area cleaner than when you arrived, but the answer is to assume that you're not the only hunter in the area. Wear hunter orange to make sure you're not mistaken for a game animal.
Ideally, you should wear an orange vest or jacket as well as a hat to help prevent other hunters from mistaking you for game. You want to make sure that you are always visible and identifiable as a human being.
According to the CDC, out of all the injury reports that involved two or more hunters, 76 percent of the incidents involved people who were not wearing hunter orange at the time.
The CDC report listed 259 accidents in which the injured hunter was not wearing hunter orange. In 125 of those cases, the accident was a result of one hunter mistaking another for game.
Both waterproof matches and safety flares are a good idea, but a bright flashlight is recommended in case you end up in the woods at dusk or after dark. An inexperienced hunter may still take a shot at night, so a flashlight will help insure that you are recognized as a human after dark.
Every time you fire at game, you want to make the best shot that kills humanely while leaving the most meat. You also need to verify your target is actually a game animal and to be aware of what is between you and your target and beyond it.
Follow gun safety practices at all times and always treat every gun as if it were loaded -- even if you're certain it is unloaded. Too many accidental deaths are caused by "unloaded" guns. You should keep your gun's action open and load it only when you're ready to use it.