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Stay Safe in the Woods: 40 Hunter Safety Tips

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With hunting season in full swing, the woods are full of anxious hunters, watching and waiting for the perfect opportunity to take a shot at their prey. While hunting season is an exciting time for the outdoor enthusiast, it’s imperative that safety be priority number 1. When it comes to safety, the old adage is true: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Tip 1: Always keep the barrel of your firearm pointed in a safe direction.

Tip 2: Firearms should be unloaded when not in use.

Tip 3: Don’t rely on your gun’s safety. Treat all firearms as if they’re loaded and ready to fire.

Tip 4: Be sure of your target and what’s beyond it.

Tip 5: Use proper ammunition.

Tip 6: If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, handle with care.

Tip 7: Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting.

Tip 8: Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting.

Tip 9: Don’t alter or modify your gun, and have it serviced regularly.

Tip 10: Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using.

Tip 11: Treat a misfire as though the gun could fire at any moment.

Tip 12: Make sure the gun is unloaded before attempting to clean it.

Tip 13: Do not use alcohol or drugs while handling a firearm.

Tip 14: Never smoke in the proximity of a muzzleloader.

Tip 15: Keep your finger out of the trigger guard and off the trigger until ready to shoot.

Tip 16: Never cross a fence, climb a tree or stand or jump a ditch with a loaded gun.

Tip 17: Never hoist a loaded firearm into a stand.

Tip 18: Never load a firearm until you are ready to use it.

Tip 19: Always unload firearms before riding in any vehicle, including ATVs.

Tip 20: Watch your muzzle so the other hunter doesn’t have to.

Tip 21: Wear hunter orange so you can be seen. If you take a dog with you, make sure it also wears bright colors.

Tip 22: Keep guns and ammunition separately and in locked storage.

Tip 23: Don’t shoot unless absolutely sure of your target and what is beyond it.

Tip 24: Know the range of your firearm. Remember, even a .22 rim fire can travel over 1-1/2 miles.

Tip 25: Tell someone where you’re going and when you plan to return. If you move from one area to another advise someone.

Tip 26: Dress for the weather.

Tip 27: Take a GPS or compass to prevent getting lost.

Tip 28: Carry a flashlight while walking through the hunting area before or after daylight.

Tip 29: Be familiar with the area you want to hunt.

Tip 30: Carry a first aid kit.

Hunting FenceCrossing

photo: courtesy Georgia DNR

Tree Stand Safety Tips

Tip 1: Be sure to select the proper tree before hanging a fixed-position stand or using a climbing stand. The tree should be alive and healthy without any noticeable rot or damage. Your tree should also meet the size specifications and restrictions set by the tree stand company.

Tip 2: NEVER hunt from a tree stand without a secure and high-quality safety harness. It only takes one fall to suffer a serious injury or permanently end your hunting career.

Tip 3: A strong and sturdy safety rope (or strap) should be attached to both your harness and the tree to prevent you from falling more than 12-inches.

Tip 4: Continuously monitor and inspect your safety harness and tree stands before and during the season to check for wear and tear or possible damage.

Tip 5: When hunting from a fixed position or hang-on stand always inspect the ladder steps and tree stand attachments to make sure everything is tightly secured to the tree.

Tip 6: Always use a haul line to pull-up your gear, bow or unloaded firearm. Never climb with anything in your hands or attached to your back. Before climbing down, utilize the haul line to safely lower all of your equipment on the opposite side of the tree.

Tip 7:  Be sure to let family and friends know the exact tree stand location that you’re currently hunting. When at all possible, hunt with a buddy and always carry a communication device like a cell-phone or walkie-talkie that can easily be reached on your body at anytime.

Tip 8: Follow the 3-Point rule, which says always have 3-points of contact to your steps or ladder when climbing or descending from your stand.

Tip 9: Be aware of slippery and hazardous climbing conditions that may result from rain, sleet, snow or ice and take the appropriate precautions.

Tip 10: When using a climbing stand, make slow, steady and even movements of no more than 12 inches at a time. You should also make sure the climbing section and platform of your stand are attached together by some type of safety cord or rope.

Following these important hunter safety tips will help ensure that you have a safe season. Happy Hunting!

(Tree Stand Safety Tips courtesy: Summit Stands)

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