Staying safe while hunting usually isn’t what enters most hunter’s minds but it is crucial for having a successful and fun year while in the field.
It is that time of year that hunters wait for. Countdowns begin as early as the last year. It is finally hunting season once again. Cooler weather is on the way and most of us are headed out in search of big game.
But did you know that at least 1,000 preventable hunting injuries take place per year? Did you also know that 100 of those are fatal? Whether you did or didn’t know here are some tips for a safe hunt.
Before the Hunt
One of the number one rules is to always check your equipment. Most hunters seem to do this but it doesn’t hurt to remind you. This can include various items you take on the hunt.
For example, if you are an archery hunter check your bowstrings. Ensure they are in good condition and won’t break when you drawback. For rifles, hunters ensure your rifle is clean and the action is functioning properly. Both of these tips will help you stay safe while in the woods.
Another great thing to do prior to opening day is to practice. Regardless if you’ve hunted for twenty years or just started. You should always practice your shooting beforehand. Get used to shooting in different positions both with a bow and a rifle. It is rare if you get a shot that you can stand perfectly still with the animal at 30 yards with no obstructions.
We recently recorded a podcast about gear checklists and the best ways to get repaired for the season. You can listen to it by clicking here.
During the Hunt
Know your target. You could argue that this also plays into “before the hunt” but it is crucial before and during. Any kid taking hunter’s safety or even learning to shoot in general should know this rule. Yet somehow it gets left off the checklist often.
If you are hunting a bull elk you should know 100% what qualifies as a legal bull. Not only that but also before pulling the trigger that you know 100% that it is a legal bull.
Each year big game species are killed that were not the intended target. Cow moose get mistaken for elk and even livestock sometimes get shot. You can read more about these types of accidents by clicking here.
Know your target and know the rules!
Another key safety tip is to keep your broadheads covered. The only time one should be uncovered is when you have an arrow nocked and ready to let fly. Broadheads are meant to slice through hide, muscle, and organs of big game. It can ruin your hunt really quick if you happen to slice your finger on one.
For rifle hunters always treat your gun as if loaded. Each year roofs are blown open or hunting buddies get shot because of careless gun handling.
Remember: Always treat it like it is loaded. Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot and know your target and what’s beyond it.
Hopefully, a few of these simple tips can help you have a safer trip this fall. For more information and other tips check out the Utah DWR website here. Have a great season and stay safe out there!