The most important factor of going hunting is being able to come home when the hunt is over.
It seems every year during the hunting season, regardless of what game species hunters are pursuing, there is some sort of tragedy that takes a life or seriously alters another. The worst part is that those tragedies could have been avoided. I myself have had an incedent very recently that could have been avoided. There are way too many stories of hunters who didn't follow these simple, safe hunting practices.
The following safe hunting practices are easy pre and post hunting rituals that all hunters should pay special consideration to each and every time they take to the field or woods. If a hunter doesn't take these cautions to heart for themselves, then they should at least do it for their friends and family waiting on them at home.
1. Stay unloaded until ready and keep the safety on.
Far too many times, hunters are accidentally shot because a round was chambered and they didn't know that the safety was off. Hunters tend to leave the gun loaded and rely on the safety while transporting to and from the vehicle because there is less noise while in the field. This is especially true during deer and turkey seasons when the slightest noise can send these game animals running.
Leaving the gun unloaded until you are settled in your stand or blind is always the best practice. And remember, keep that safety on until you are aiming at your intended target and ready to fire.
2. Know where you are going.
Most hunters spend a majority of their time walking before and after dark. During daylight hours, most hunters are nestled in somewhere waiting on their game animals to come strolling by. With this in mind, it is extremely important to know where you going. Know the property boundary lines before you step foot on any property. If you don't know the property, you don't know where neighbors may have blinds or stands next door. If you don't know that, you also don't know their shooting angles.
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3. Always wear a safety harness and use a gear rope.
I fell off of my treestand last year when climbing up on the opening day of shotgun season. Luckily, I wasn't injured. I walked away very sore and remained sore for several weeks. I wasn't wearing a harness or using climbing hooks either. Do you know why? I thought it would never happen to me and I had my hands full. I remember when I was laying there on the ground wondering if I was paralyzed and if I told my wife I loved her before I left. Like I said, luckily I walked away.
That night my wife and parents bought me a harness by Hunter Safety System. I've worn it every time I've climbed a tree since. Trust me when I write this; it can happen to you too and you may not be so lucky.
Following these tips could literally make the difference between a life or death situation. This is a sport we all love and it is important to lessen the dangerous accidents that can happen with these three easy safety practices.