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How to Stay Safe While Hunting

Posted in blog,Safety Tips on November 18, 2021

With hunting season in full swing, the woods in West Virginia are full of anxious hunters waiting for their perfect opportunity.  While this is an exciting time for outdoor enthusiasts, it is imperative that safety be our highest priority.  Similar to other outdoor activities, there is a risk for injury and even death while hunting.  Recent statistics show that roughly 100 people die each year in hunting related accidents nationwide, while the number of reported accidents is much higher. Some of the most common causes of hunting fatalities and injuries are due to accidental gun discharges, inadvertent shootings, and tree stands.

Before venturing out this year try to implement the following…

  • Check the weather – rain/ice/snow can increase the chance of falling or slipping, especially on tree stand ladders
  • Always tell someone where you will be hunting and your expected time for return
  • Dress properly and be prepared for the worst possible conditions
  • Wear bright orange. If you are accompanied by a dog, they should also wear orange (e.g. vest, collar, or bandana)
  • Carry a first aide kit
  • Follow gun and tree stand safety tips outlined below

Gun safety tips:

  1. Keep the barrel of your firearm pointed in a safe direction at all times
  2. Firearms should ALWAYS be unloaded when not in use
  3. Don’t rely solely on your gun’s safety – treat all firearms as if they are loaded and ready to fire
  4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it or in the near vicinity
  5. Use proper ammunition
  6. Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting
  7. Before cleaning your gun, make sure it is unloaded
  8. Never operate firearms under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  9. Keep your finger away from the trigger until you are ready to shoot
  10. Never cross a fence or climb with a loaded gun
  11. Always unload guns before riding in a vehicle, including ATVs
  12. Clearly identify your target before shooting – be alert when hunting near residential or developed areas
  13. Check hunting equipment often and thoroughly

Safety tips for tree stands:

  1. Be sure to select a tree that is alive and healthy
  2. Practice with your stand at ground level before attempting in the tree
  3. Use the proper and recommended procedures for securing the stand to a tree
  4. Read the warnings and instructions from the stand manufacturer
  5. Use a stand and safety harness that is rated for your weight
  6. Use a haul line to raise or lower your gear, including unloaded firearms and bow
  7. Never climb with anything in your hands
  8. Follow the 3-point rule – always have three points of contact while climbing or descending from your stand