Hunting season opens on Saturday, Oct. 20. For hunters, this is a very significant season of the year and is anticipated with great enthusiasm. Some hunt for sport, others as a primary source of protein. No matter the purpose of the activity, all hunters follow rules of safety.
- Knowing the target you are shooting
- Checking behind the target before firing
- Pointing the muzzle of the gun in a safe direction
- Keeping a clear head and being informed about surroundings
- Keeping fingers outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot
- Wearing earplugs or headsets when firing a weapon
Unfortunately, injuries can occur during hunting trips. The most common injuries are misfired rifles, heart attacks, broken bones or back injuries. Activity during the hunt can be physically demanding and can cause a significant increase in heart rate.
Hunters are generally trained in first aid to help those around them. Other hunting safety measures include wearing visible clothing, appropriate for the weather and activity of hunting, and protective shoes for rough terrain, according to information from the National Institutes of Health.
Hunting safety recommendations by the National Institutes of Health also include the following:
- Pay attention. Hunting injuries are often caused by falls. The average fall from a tree stand is about 15 feet. By staying alert and aware of what is going on around them, hunters can avoid being startled and reduce their risk of falling, which can lead to broken bones, paralysis and even death.
- Check equipment and use safety belts. Hunters are advised to avoid permanent tree stands, which are more likely to deteriorate.
- Do not drink alcohol. Hunters who have been drinking are more likely to hurt themselves or others or develop frostbite or hypothermia.
- Do not smoke. Smoking can cause fires with the amount of fallen pine straw and dry weather. It also leaves a lingering odor in the air.
- Hunters should also inform their families about their plans and the location of where they will be hunting. They should carry cell phones, two-way radios or whistles in case they need to call for help.
- Hunter education course: Residents and non-residents born on or after Jan. 1, 1961, must successfully complete a hunter education course prior to purchasing a season hunting license.
(SafetySmart Lilburn promotes safety awareness, encourages community involvement and communicates with neighborhood. Please visit the website at www.safetysmartlilburn.org.)