by Ross Laufenberg, Oncology/Infusion Tech, on behalf of The Safety Squad at Southwest Health
Last year, there were 8 gun-related hunting incidents, resulting in 1.31 incidents per 100,000 hunters. Jon King, DNR Conservation Warden and Hunter Education Administrator states that, “As long as every hunter remembers and practices the Four Firearm Safety rules, hunting can and will get safer.” There are many steps we can take to make sure that we have a safe hunting season.
Here are a handful of ways we can stay safe:
- Camouflage is an excellent trick to keep you hidden from your game, but it also keeps you hidden from other hunters; so be sure to pair your camo with blaze orange or blaze pink. Blaze orange cannot be distinguished by deer, but is easily identified by the human eye, making it the perfect color for safe and effective hunting. The state only requires that 50% of your body is covered in one of these safety colors, but it doesn’t hurt to have more coverage.
- Always dress warm enough to prevent hypothermia, using heat packs and drinking warm beverages as necessary. Dress in layers for days with large temperature ranges.
- Do not hunt after dark. It’s not only unsafe, it’s also illegal.
- Keep guns locked away in a separate location from ammunition and away from children. Trigger locks are also effective as an extended safety measure.
- Create a plan for your hunting trip, whether it is one hour or one week long. Tell this plan to a friend or family member, and stick to the plan, informing them of a safe return once your hunt is completed.
- Though sometimes effective for harvesting game, deer drives create a new list of risks for hunters. Properly orchestrate a safe plan to ensure that no other hunters are ever in a dangerous scenario for taking a shot.
- Condition properly. On long walks to tree stands, hills can prove to be a challenge. Not only can you suffer strains and pulled muscles, but overworking the heart can be fatal if pushed too far. Deer drives can also be strenuous on your body.
- Bring binoculars for scouting deer and signaling to other hunters. Only address your firearm when you’re certain that you’re prepared to take a shot.
- Over half of all deer hunters hunt out of tree stands. When hunting out of a tree stand, always wear a harness.
- Never mix alcohol or drug use with firearms
- Wear latex gloves when field dressing game. If processing your harvest, ensure that the animal doesn’t have CWD, and avoid consuming meat from infected animals. Contact your state game and fish department if you believe you see an animal that is acting abnormally or appears to be sick.
- Carry your cell phone. Although it will be on silent mode, your cell phone may be your only line of communication for help should you have a hunting accident.