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Hunt Safe and Return Home


Wildlife and the Outdoors


Hunt Safe and Return Home


Myron Wiley, Biologist Aide I/II


Safe hunting is not an accident. It cannot be left to chance or just with the hopes that nothing bad will happen. If any of us becomes the victim of an accident, our families and all those who love and care about us, become victims as well. We owe it to them, if not to ourselves, to do all in our power to come home alive and in one piece. Here are a few things we can all do to ensure a safe return.

            An explanation made by those fortunate enough to survive a mishap, whether it be trivial or tragic, often begins “I didn’t mean to. . .” or “I didn’t think about . . .” Naturally, no one “means to” have an accident. However, accidents often occur because we don’t “mean not to.” In other words, without conscious thought and effort being made to avoid them, sooner or later accidents can and will happen. An accident is an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance or an unfortunate event resulting especially from carelessness or ignorance.

When the statistics of all reported hunting accidents are examined, it is quite clear that in most cases the possibility of those things happening could have been foreseen and that unplanned event or circumstance avoided. All of these unfortunate events were probably caused by someone’s carelessness and/or ignorance. Certainly they did not mean to but, they also failed to do the things that would have prevented the accident. With some foresight, planning, care, and education the hazards can be greatly reduced if not eliminated.

Hunting safety brings to mind the thought of firearms and other hunting weapons. However, they are not the only items of concern. Every piece of equipment used during a hunting trip has its own set of cautions and safety issues. Each of us would do well to examine our own habits in the use of firearms, ATVs, tree stands, or other hunting equipment and see how dangerous some of those habits may be.

Do you know the Ten Commandments of Firearm Safety and do you follow them? When you use a tree stand, do you wear an approved safety harness while going up, hunting, and coming down? It has been said that there are only two groups of people who use a tree stand, those who have fallen and those who will fall. A safety harness is the difference between a minor mishap and a major fall with serious injury or death. Do you take small children as passengers on your ATV? Do you wear the proper safety equipment while riding? Do you know the basic survival skills necessary if lost or injured? Do you take with you the items necessary for the climate and conditions you might encounter? Does someone know where you are going? The safe answers to these questions and many more are simple to learn, but easy to ignore.

Some accidents can be prevented. Know your equipment and use it properly. Know where you are going and be sure someone else does, too. Know the conditions that might be encountered and be prepared. Know basic survival skills and have a first aid kit. It may save you or someone else. Being safe will enhance your hunting experience.

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