Over 1,000 people a year are injured, many fatally, because of hunting accidents.
That’s a pretty high number, and a serious one to keep in mind if you are an avid hunter! It’s important to take safety precautions on any hunting trip so that you or your companions don’t have to end up in the hospital.
While most hunters know the basics of safety, it’s important to have the top tips in mind when you are planning your next trip.
Read on to learn more about the top safety tips we recommend for any hunting excursion.
1. Treat Weapons As Loaded
One of the most important hunting safety tips out there involves how you carry your weapon. Even if your gun isn’t loaded, treat it as if it is.
Always point the muzzle of your gun away from you and your companions, if you are traveling in a group. Do not keep your finger on the trigger while you are carrying your gun.
Your gun should have a safety mode. Make sure it is in safety mode until you are prepared to shoot at an animal.
2. Know Your Fire Zone
The Fire Zone is defined as the safe shooting zone around you as you are moving. More specifically, it lies at forty five degrees in front of every hunter.
As you are hunting, make sure you are constantly aware of this fire zone. Never shoot outside of this zone, because this means you won’t be able to reliably see what you are shooting at.
Also be sure you are always aware of where your companions are at all times–both in relation to this fire zone and in space.
3. Practice Means A Safe Hunting Trip
A lot of accidents on hunting trips can occur due to novice hunters or because people haven’t practiced shooting accurately.
Beginning hunters should practice taking accurate shots before they go on a trip. They should not go hunting alone.
Even if you are an experienced hunter, it’s important to practice your aim and shot as often as possible. Make sure you can shoot precisely before you go on a hunting excursion.
4. Know What You’re Shooting
Recently, a woman in New York was killed because her neighbor thought she was a deer when he shot at her.
Mistaking a target for another target is one of the most common causes of hunting accidents and fatalities. Before you shoot, make sure you can identify your target–one hundred percent.
Do not shoot if you don’t fully know what you are shooting at!
5. Be Prepared
A lot of hunting trips involve going out into wild areas. It’s important to be prepared when you plan your trip in case you encounter inclement weather or other adverse situations.
Always bring a charged cell phone and battery pack with you, even if you aren’t sure you’ll be in service. Other supplies you should bring include food and water, safety signals, matches or a fire starter, and a map of the area you are hunting in.
If you can, take a wilderness survival course so that you can feel confident in any terrain.
6. Practice Being Calm
A hunting trip isn’t necessarily a relaxed trip. It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement or even the stress of a hunting excursion.
It’s important to be as calm as possible when hunting to avoid premature triggering and gun accidents. You can be efficient and quiet at the same time. Be respectful of your surroundings and the terrain.
Practice taking deep breaths and staying focused to avoid an injury.
7. Dress Appropriately
This tip includes two important pieces of advice.
Make sure you dress appropriately given the weather and terrain you’ll be experiencing on your hunting trip. Bring layers and dry-wick clothing if you are traversing alpine climates.
Wear appropriate shoes and always make sure you can moderate body temperature.
You’ll also want to wear hunter’s bright orange –at all costs. You can wear camouflage underneath this, but the hunter’s orange is the best way to ensure that no other hunter shoots you.
8. Identify Yourself as a Person
Even if you are wearing hunter’s orange, make sure you can announce your presence if the need arises.
It’s important to be quiet when approaching game, but feel free to whistle, talk, and make otherwise human noises so that you can clearly identify yourself as a hunter and not an animal.
9. Don’t Hunt Alone
This is a critical hunting tip. Experienced hunters may hunt alone but the best practice is to travel with a companion or group.
Traveling in a group on a hunting trip ensures that everyone can practice safety together. You’ll be less likely to be caught in a sticky situation if you have lots of people working together.
10. Know Where You’re Going
Hunting is a serious thing. Some people live in areas where they can just hunt in their backyard, but most hunting trips are in remote locations where the game is wild and abundant.
It’s important to know exactly where you are going at all times. If you are in a new area, make sure you bring a map and compass so that you can track your progress as you hunt.
Before you go hunting, research the area as much as possible so that you can feel confident walking the terrain.
Having a Safe Hunting Trip
Hunting is an exciting adventure, especially if you are going with friends to a new place. It’s important to take the right safety precautions so that you can ensure your trip is memorable for the right reasons.
The most important thing to keep in mind is handling your weapon carefully, as guns are responsible for the majority of injuries experienced while hunting. Treat it as if it is loaded at all times and know how to use it safely.
Make sure you know the terrain of the place you’re going to hunt, and don’t travel alone. Be prepared for anything and dress appropriately. Before you embark on your trip, practice to make sure you can take a precise shot.