Fall is in the air and in Iowa that also means that hunting season is upon us. Hunting can be a fun and safe sport. Here are a few simple tips to help you be safe while enjoying the great outdoors.
According to the Tree Stand Safety Awareness (TSSA) Board, falls from tree stands are the number one cause of death and serious injury to deer hunters and involve all types of stands. For the most part, 100% of these incidents are preventable by implementing three simple steps:
- Inspect your equipment.
- Wear a full-body harness.
- Stay connected from the time your feet leave the ground.
After you have focused on tree stand safety, be sure to focus on gun safety. The International Hunter Education Association notes four basic rules of gun safety. They are known by the acronym TABK:
- T-Treat every firearm as if it were loaded. Never assume a firearm is unloaded.
- A-Always point the firearm in a safe direction. Even if an unwanted discharge occurs no one will be hurt if you always point the gun in a safe direction.
- B-Be sure of your target and what is beyond your target. Make absolutely certain you can positively identify your target and what is beyond it. Make sure there are no other hunters, houses, cars or other animals beyond your target in case you miss your target or the bullet travels through it. Never shoot an animal that is on the horizon as you cannot be sure of what is behind that animal.
- K-Keep your finger out of the trigger guard and off the trigger until ready to shoot. Also, make sure that branches or other objects do not touch the trigger guard or trigger.
In addition to tree stand and gun safety, there are a few other safety steps to take for a safe and successful hunting experience:
- Look at a detailed map of the area you are hunting and carry it with you.
- Carry a compass or GPS system and know how to use it. Decide ahead of time the direction to go if you get lost or disoriented.
- Weather can change quickly, so you should carry a simple survival kit and be prepared for an unexpected overnight stay in the field. The kit should contain a rope, a knife, water, waterproof matches, an emergency shelter and first aid supplies.
- If you are on the water, wear a life vest.
- Know your hunting partners’ physical and emotional limits, as well as your own. Don’t push your partners or yourself beyond those limits.
- Always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.
With some common sense and the proper use of safety equipment, you will ensure that you and others will safely enjoy your hunt.