What do you think the most important thing to do before you go hunting is?
Maybe set up the hunt with friends? Making sure camp is ready? Checking your equipment?
While all of these are important the most important thing to do is to make sure that you and your hunting party know all there is to know about hunting safety, and follow the rules. Don’t leave this up to someone else. Your friends may hem and haw about it but in the end it could save a life.
There are many safety rules, Michigan DNR conservation officer David Shaw had this to say about staying safe during the hunting season.
“It really falls back on three fundamental rules of firearm safety. Number one, treat every firearm as if it is loaded like it is loaded anytime and that means handle it carefully keep the safety on at all times. The other is to always control the muzzle of the gun. The muzzle of the gun is where the projectile comes out. And then the last thing to keep very safe while out hunting is to always positively identify what your target is and not just that but what’s behind your target.”
I have included a few more hunters safety rules.
- Be sure that the barrel and action are clear of obstructions.
- Take a hunters safety course from a State certified Hunters Safety Instructor.
- Wear hunter orange for protection and the safety of other people.
- Avoid all horseplay with a firearm.
- Never climb a tree or jump a ditch with a loaded firearm. Never pull a firearm toward body by muzzle.
- Ask permission before entering private land.
- Obey all wildlife laws.
- Report observed law violations to Turn-In-Poachers (TIP) hotline. This number can be found on your state DNR website.
- Store firearms and ammunition separately beyond the reach of children and adults.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages or other mood-altering drugs before or while shooting.
- Tell someone the general hunting vicinity and time of return.
- Have a first aid kit available and a means of communication such as a cell phone
These rules pertain mostly to hunting with a gun but many of them would be the same if you were using a bow.
There are many other rules and regulations to keep in mind during hunting season as well.
Everyone born after a certain date must pass a hunters safety course before entering the woods. This varies from state to state. Check with your local DNR office for the specifics of your area. Even if you don’t legally have to take a hunters safety course a little refresher couldn’t hurt.
Hunting is so much more than a sport. It is a bonding time for many families. It teaches conservation, values, ethics and give people a sense of tradition.So as long as safety precautions are followed hunting can be a fun and rewarding experience for generations now and generations to come.
Image courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.