Whether you’re new to the sporting world or looking for a refresher, these are the essential safety measures that every good hunter follows.
Take the Class
Most states require hunters to take some form of hunter safety course before issuing a license. These courses cover a multitude of important information from basic gun safety and etiquette, to ammunition, species and sex identification, and ethics.
It’s also recommended that you take a basic first-aid class, such as a CPR class from the American Red Cross, in case there’s a medical emergency or accident in the field.
Spend Time with Seasoned Hunters
If you’re a newbie or only have a few years under your belt, spending time with seasoned hunters can be invaluable. Not only do they have the knowledge and know how to help you achieve your goals and bag your game, but they also have a wealth of experience that can ensure you stay safe and do things legally.
Scout Before You Hunt
Before hunting, it’s wise to scout your hunting territory thoroughly. This not only allows you to look for animal signs, but it also allows you to know the lay of the land in case of an emergency. In fact, having a good geographical awareness while you’re hunting will often prevent emergency situations such as getting lost or stumbling into an unsafe area—or on to private property.
If it isn’t possible to scout the area before you hunt, then utilize online hunting apps and topographical maps of the area. It’s recommended that you carry a map of the area with you, download maps to your phone, and have a good GPS device in the field. However, because technological devices and service can fail, there’s no substitute for a map, compass, and practiced navigational skills.
Have an Emergency Plan
Chances are you’ll be hunting with a buddy or two. Before going into the field, discuss various emergency scenarios and how you would handle them. For example, who will go for help if someone is injured? What emergency survival supplies will the group carry? What will your group do if they encounter inclement weather? And who is responsible for leaving basic information (like the area in which you’ll be hunting, license plate numbers, etc.) with a trusted relative or friend back home?
Maintain Your Weapons and Ammunition
Maintain your weapons by cleaning them before hunting and firing them regularly to ensure that all parts are working properly. Check all ammunition to make certain that it’s clean, dry, and ready for use before going into the field.
Know the Law
Hunting is a noble sport, but it often gets a bad rap because a small group of people who choose to either not follow, or don’t take the time to know the laws in their area. Before you hunt, make sure you know how to do so legally and ethically. This will ensure that you and your friends stay safe, and out of trouble. Not to mention, it will help to protect the reputation of the sport and your fellow sportsmen and sportswomen.