Even an unsuccessful hunt can be a great time — just as long as everyone gets off the trail safely

25215934 - deer hunting in minnesotaA good hunt can be in the eye of the beholder. But one thing that can make for a truly bad hunt is a day that ends in injury. Hunters are typically careful by nature and as a result, hunting is by and large a safe sport. Accidents do happen though — this Idaho man was out on a hunt when he was hit with a .50-caliber round fired from a muzzleloader after his friend mistook him for an elk. He’s in stable condition now, but that’s a real testament to the need to stay safe on the trail!

Be careful at height. In a sport that makes use of deadly weapons, you might think the most common hunting injury would involve guns or bows. You’d be mistaken. The leading cause of serious injury for hunters is actually falling from height, a scenario that affects those who hunt from tree stands and other raised platforms. It’s estimated that as many as one in three hunters who use stands will fall from them at some point or another and sustain injury. A fall arrest system gives you a lifeline to break any falls you might take.

Respect your weapon. Gun safety is the foundation of what we do. Luckily, most hunters are well-versed from an early point in how to handle bows and firearms to prevent injury. Firearms in particular have an easy acronym we can follow: TAB+1, which tells us to Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded, Always keep the muzzle in a safe direction and Be sure of your target and beyond. The +1 has us keep our finger outside the trigger guard until we’re ready to shoot.

Dress to be seen. Blaze orange all day! Some states require by law that hunters (as well as non-hunters who walk through hunting grounds) wear the bright hues of blaze orange or pink during hunting seasons to clearly differentiate humans from their quarry. For those of us who live in states with no such requirement, blazing colors should still be part of your hunting wardrobe. After all, if you’re in the woods or brush, or out at dawn or dusk, it can be all too easy to mistake a hunting buddy for something else.

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