With the 2012/2013 hunting season underway, I thought it important to remind each of us about some safety issues that should be considered by each hunter. Again, this list will not touch on every scenario that may be confronted, but hopefully, it will get you thinking.
- Be sure to check your tree stand, insuring that changes have not occurred since last season. The best time to check the stand is before the first day that you plan to hunt.
- Remember to hoist your unloaded weapon into the tree, once you have secured yourself in the tree.
- Check your full body harness. If there are compromises, replace it. Something to consider; how will you get down if you tension your harness by falling from the stand?
- Make sure that you have sighted in your weapons. You want to make sure that your shot goes where you intend for it to go. This will insure that the big one will not get away, and also that you will not needlessly wound an animal.
- Make sure that someone knows your hunting plan. Make sure that your cell phone is fully charged.
- Be mindful of an increased number of predators in the woods. The other day, a hunter in our club killed a coyote that was running with a pack of five. I would think that these animals would be more frightened of you, however animals become more aggressive in packs.
- During black powder season, be mindful of your load.
- Leave yourself a trail to get back out if you are hunting in a new area. This becomes important when you are trailing a wounded animal as well.
- If you do not know where another hunter is, find another block of woods to hunt. Our club uses a map board with nametags. You must put your tag where you will be hunting, as well as write it in the logbook.
- Make sure that your weapon is unloaded before cleaning it.
- Keep your weapons out of the hands of young children. If you want to change your hunting forever, let a loved one get shot.
This list does not cover it all, but it will get you thinking about your safety. I suffered a major injury to my shoulder in 2002, when a wooden tree stand ladder came loose from the ground, throwing me to the ground. Tree stand accidents will hurt many hunters before this season is over, unfortunately. There will be others injured by premature discharge of their weapon due to a failed safety practice like failing to put the safety on or failing to unload your weapon. Be careful and enjoy your season.