Safety must be your highest priority when hunting. While spending time in the great outdoors is a truly rewarding experience, it’s crucial that you remember that nature is unforgiving. When you also add weapons into the mix, there’s a lot that can go wrong if you don’t take proper precautions right from the start. So if you follow these 7 Essential Safety Tips For Hunting before and during your trip, you will minimize your risk.
Fortunately, if you follow some simple tips for hunting trip outings, you can have a thrilling adventure with minimal risk.
Whether the wilderness is your second home or you’re embarking on your first hunt, these seven common-sense guidelines will go a long way in preventing avoidable safety threats.
Safety Tips For Hunting To Remember
1. Pack for extreme weather
Nature is unpredictable. Of course you’re going to check the weather before heading out, but you should never treat that information as set in stone. Without the right gear, a shift in weather conditions can do a whole lot more than spoil your good time. Harsh weather can be extremely dangerous if you’re unprepared. After all, you’re at the mercy of your conditions and surroundings — never forget that.
Of course, if you’re hunting in the middle of summer, you probably don’t need to pack your snow boots. At the same time, you might be surprised how cold a summer night can get. Be practical, but it never hurts to be over-prepared. One essential item to bring is a quality rain suit. You don’t want to be caught in a rainstorm without proper protection.
2. Brush up on weapon safety
Even the most skilled and experienced hunter isn’t immune to weapon danger. In fact, accidents often occur because a person became too confident in their knowledge of weapon handling. Before you head out, give yourself a refresher on proper weapon safety — even if it feels unnecessary. This step is especially critical if you’re going out with a less experienced hunter.
- Treat every weapon as if it’s loaded
- Pay attention to where your weapon is pointing at all times
- Unload weapons when they’re not in use
- Keep your finger off the trigger unless you’re taking the shot
- Only use the correct ammo and accessories
- Don’t depend on safety features — they can fail
- Mind your surroundings — especially before taking the shot
- Maintain and upgrade your weapon before heading out
- If a misfire occurs, proceed with extreme caution as you inspect your weapon
- Wear eye protection
- Learn the unique mechanics and feel of every weapon before using it
3. Wear blaze orange clothing and accessories
43 out of the 50 states require hunters to wear blaze orange. The others strongly recommend it. Even if your state’s orange requirements are lenient, it never hurts to be as safe as possible. Deers can’t detect the color orange, but people can.
Hunting accidents are exactly that — accidents. Those accidents can be drastically reduced by wearing blaze orange hats, vests, and other accessories. It’s a courtesy to fellow hunters and the general public that should never be overlooked.
4. Bring a phone and charging accessories
Yes, the feeling of being ‘one with nature’ is appealing. You may want to free yourself from the constraints of technology and experience the true essence of hunting. On paper, it’s a romantic idea, but in practice it can have devastating consequences.
Pack a smartphone and a charger bank and/or extra battery in your bag. Hopefully you never have to touch or even think about it, but if an unforeseen situation occurs, you’re going to be thankful to have it. Even if you’re 100% confident in your survival skills, sometimes there are obstacles that cannot be overcome without a lifeline to emergency services.
5. Tell someone your location
Again, many hunters have that desire to break free from modern society, if only for a day or two. It may be tempting to disappear on your own personal quest. There’s nothing wrong with that, but take a minute to let a friend or family member know where you’re going to be. That way they can send emergency assistance if you don’t make it home in time.
6. Be cautious of wounded animals
It goes without saying that you should be cautious around all wild animals. However, it’s easy to overlook the danger of a seemingly-neutralized one. When it’s time to approach wounded game, your adrenaline is going to be running high, so it’s easy to make mistakes.
- Even if the animal appears to be deceased, wait a few minutes before approaching
- Watch the downed animal, and see if you can detect the chest cavity rising and falling
- Check to see if the eyes are open or closed (usually they’re open if the animal is dead)
- Touch it with a stick and watch to see if the eyes blink
- Approach downed game from behind and above
- Finish a wounded animal with a shot behind the ear (or the heart/lung region if you plan to mount the head or if you’re using a bow)
7. Research your hunting location
Before you even think about starting your trek, spend some time researching the location. Familiarize yourself with landmarks so you have a point of reference if you get lost. Make sure you’re hunting in a legal zone, and pay attention to the locations of any private properties.
Even with a map, it’s easy to get disoriented in the great outdoors. Be constantly aware of your movements. You may also want to consider investing in a hiking GPS unit so you can focus on hunting instead of navigating.
Safety Tips For Hunting Conclusion
Hunting is a hobby that goes beyond the trip itself. Getting your hunting gear together is an exciting experience in its own way. Give yourself plenty of time to pack and plan smart. You never want to regret even the smallest overlooked detail when you’re out. Out of all of the safety tips for hunting trip adventures, the easiest (yet often overlooked) one is to simply plan smart before you head out.
While every hunter has their own unique methods, proper planning and organization should be considered mandatory skills on par with your actual hunting skills. After all, even the best shooter is going to have a bad experience if they fail to bring proper equipment. Make a checklist and check it twice. Now check it again. There’s no such thing as overkill when it comes to hunting or gun safety tips.