Autumn ushers in some pretty lively changes. There's a chill in the air, friends are gathering around bonfires, and school is back in session. There's also another exciting event on the horizon: hunting season!
As you prepare to head into the woods, it's important to be prepared. Today, we're sharing 10 hunting safety tips that apply to everyone who practices this sport, from beginners to professionals.
1. Notice Your Surroundings
As you set up for the day, take a good look at everything around you. This doesn't just help you navigate better and improve your odds of scoring that great shot. It can also help you stay safe while you hunt.
Falls are some of the most common types of hunting injuries. They usually happen when hunters are sitting in a tree, and become startled by an animal near them or on the ground below. Falls can result in broken bones, paralysis, and even death.
Avoid permanent tree stands, if possible, as these tend to deteriorate over time. You can also use a safety belt to prevent a fall.
Pay attention to your surroundings, and don't become too comfortable. By staying alert, you can improve your odds of a safe and successful hunting trip.
2. Wear the Right Attire
When planning a hunting trip, remember to dress appropriately. Ideally, you should wear hunter orange any time you're in the woods.
This helps you stand out among the wildlife and keeps you visible from all directions. This is especially important if you're hunting with a group. You can also use hunter orange to mark and identify your hunting location.
Try to avoid nature-inspired neutrals that could make you blend into your surroundings. Colors to steer away from include:
Dress in layers, and prepare for adverse weather. In the fall, this means taking along items like a rain jacket, brightly-colored hoodie, and cold-weather accessories like gloves and hats. If you're hunting with a dog, the dog should also wear hunter orange or a very visible color on its vest, coat, leash, or bandana.
3. Treat Your Firearm Like It's Loaded
You may have heard this one before, but we can't overstate the importance of practicing firearm safety. Even if you're 100% sure that your firearm isn't loaded, it's still critical to treat it with care and caution.
This means assuming that there are bullets inside of it at all times. Only place your finger on the trigger if you're in a safe stance and fully prepared to fire a shot.
4. Check the Forecast
Always check the weather conditions for hunting before you go out. Sudden rain or snow could not only dampen the fun but also make your environment unsafe. You don't want to get stranded in the forest!
Before you head out, remember to tell someone where you're going and what time you plan to return. Choose an area that you're familiar with and are comfortable exploring, so even if the conditions turn on you, you will know how to get back.
5. Protect Your Eyes and Ears
Your eyes and ears are sensitive, and they're vulnerable to many different hazards while you're hunting. That's why it's important to add protective equipment to your hunting gear checklist.
First, let's talk about safety glasses. When you use your firearm, it discharges small pieces of the projectile, as well as burning gas and other potentially harmful debris. All of these can damage your eyes, so always wear your safety glasses
At the same time, it's equally important to protect your ears. Your firearm creates an extremely loud, high-decibel sound when you fire it, which can damage your hearing. Invest in good-quality ear protection, such as electronic earbuds, over-the-ear muffs, or electronic muffs.
6. Always Confirm Your Target
Never shoot simply because you hear a sound or notice a movement. Always confirm your target, and clearly identify it before putting your finger on the trigger. Even then, check to see everything around it before following through.
You should be able to see what's in front of your target, as well as what's close to it and beyond it. If you aren't sure what's nearby, do not take the shot. It's easy to act impulsively in the woods, especially if you think a great shot might get away, but it's never worth the risk.
7. Control Your Muzzle
When using your firearm, always keep the muzzle pointed away from you and in a safe direction. Remember that wherever the muzzle points, that area is in the crosshairs.
There's always the possibility of a ricochet, so control the muzzle at all times.
8. Know Basic First Aid
You don't have to be a medical expert to enjoy hunting, but you should know some basic first-aid skills in case you or someone hunting with you experiences an injury. It's also smart to keep a first-aid kit in your hunting bag.
These instructions can help you get started. From bleeding and choking to broken bones and blisters, there are many issues you could face in the woods, and knowing how to act can help you stay calm and avoid a negative outcome.
9. Know the Common Heart Attack Signs
You might not worry too much about a heart attack while hunting, but it's actually a fairly common injury in this sport. That's because many of the activities that hunting requires, such as walking over uneven terrain, shooting a firearm, and dragging an animal carcass, can increase your heart rate significantly.
Memorize these heart attack warning signs from the American Heart Association,, and take frequent breaks while you hunt, especially if you aren't accustomed to strenuous activities or exercise.
10. Clean and Maintain Your Hunting Equipment
Dirty, old, or outdated hunting gear isn't just less effective. It can also be unsafe. After each outing, take the time to properly clean and store your equipment.
You should also familiarize yourself with all of the components, so you know how to operate them properly and safely in the woods. By taking care of your gear, you can ensure it's always in safe working condition whenever you need to use it.
Save This Hunting Safety Guide
Whether you're an avid hunter or you're just starting this sport, it's important to protect yourself, as well as others around you. These 10 hunting safety tips can help you enjoy your time in the woods and keep anyone from getting hurt.
When you're ready to shop for new hunting equipment, start with us. At Razco, we build a wide range of premium gear, from holsters and range kits to carriers and harness kits. Feel free to shop our full collections and contact us if you have any questions.