Safety in the field and out of the field is something that many of us practice routinely throughout the hunting season. The standard regime of keeping the barrel pointed away from others, knowing what’s behind your target and keeping the safety on until you are ready to shoot is standard procedure in most hunter’s safety checklist. However, some other important safety-related topics get overlooked especially when not pulling the trigger or releasing an arrow.
Know Your Weapon
As hunters, it’s our duty to know our weapons and know their capability. Hunters should know their weapons effective range as well as the game it is intended to harvest cleanly. Knowledge and practice in this instance is key to discovering what you and your weapon are both capable of.
A clean weapon is a functional weapon. Hunters should always take the time to clean a weapon after shooting, lubricating all the mechanical parts, cleaning the chamber and barrel to remove powder residue and even waxing a bowstring. It’s also important to inspect a weapon throughout the season. For bows, inspect the string, cables, limbs, cams, rest and sights on a regular basis and make sure all of the parts are snug and tight. Firearms should be inspected for debris in the chamber or barrel also making sure the springs, action, scope mounts and chokes are all tight and working properly.
A steady mindset is an invaluable tool for any hunter. Its imperative to keep in mind that a duck, pheasant or even a deer is not worth another man’s life or even your own. The vast majority of hunters do not hunt solely to sustain themselves for food related purposes. It’s not worth risking your own life or the lives of others to harvest an animal. If an animal presents itself in a situation that jeopardizes human safety then it should be considered that animal’s lucky day.
Emotions should also be kept steady when encountering other hunters. Just because another group is being inconsiderate doesn’t mean you have to. A true sportsman is one who displays courtesy to both game species and other sportsmen.
Weigh The Odds
Hunting often puts us in dangerous situations that are unlike that of everyday life. We handle weapons, climb trees, walk through water and woods in the dark, and encounter prolonged periods in the cold and a whole host of other scenarios. Coming home safely to a husband, wife, kids and family should be a hunter’s number one consideration. We all like to be tough and endure Mother Nature at her worst but this can sometimes cause complacency, which in turn jeopardizes safety. Considering the odds, family always comes first.
With the hunting season in full swing, many of us fill our free time with hunting related activities. The outdoors is our playground and should be treated with all the respect and careful attitude as everyday life. Most of us have taken hunter safety and know the rules and regulations of safe hunting practices. These practices are of the utmost importance however the subconscious variables are the ones that should dictate our limitations.
Reminder to family where you plan to be
First Aid Kit
Tow Rope and Jumper Cables
Safety Harness (Bowhunters)
Emergency plan when hunting with friends
Know where the closest medical facilities are located