There’s no better way to signify the transition to a new season than by spending time in the great outdoors. One of the most popular ways to spend time outside is hunting. Unfortunately, accidents can happen.
Some of the most common causes of hunting accidents include:
- Victims being out of sight or moving into the shooter’s line of fire
- Victims being mistaken for game
- Horseplay with a loaded firearm
- Handling a firearm when impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Improper loading/unloading of firearm
- Dropping a firearm
- Discharge of a firearm in or around a vehicle
- Walking with a loaded firearm
- Never shoot at sound or movement. Assume it is another hunter until you can clearly see the animal.
- Be aware of other hunters.
- Be sure of your target and aware of what lies beyond it.
- Make sure your equipment is in good working condition and your firearm is properly sighted in.
- Make sure the muzzle of your firearm is pointed in a safe direction at all times, especially in and around vehicles.
- Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you’re ready to fire. Unload your firearm when not hunting.
- Wear hunter orange when in the woods. Use hunter orange to identify your hunting location.
- When using a camouflage blind, other hunters cannot see you even if you are wearing hunter orange. Tie hunter orange on each side of the blind so it can be seen from all sides.
Non-hunters that find themselves wanting to enjoy the great outdoors should follow these important safety tips:
- Wear bright clothing, like blaze orange, to remain visible to hunters in the area. If you’re with your dog, tie a brightly-colored bandana around your dog’s neck or purchase a blaze orange dog vest. Also be sure to follow any leash requirements.
- Identify hunting seasons and lands open to hunting. Stay out of designated hunt areas. Staying on designated trails will also reduce the likelihood of you accidentally entering hunt areas.
- Make noise and make yourself known. Alert hunters to your presence by whistling, singing, or carrying on a conversation as you walk. If you hear shooting, raise your voice and let hunters know you’re in the vicinity.
- Once a hunter is aware of your presence, be courteous. Don’t make unnecessary noise that disturbs wildlife.
With over 1 million licensed hunters in Texas, hunting is safer than most recreational activities, in large part because of hunter education.
In the state of Texas, every hunter (including out-of-state hunters) born on or after September 2, 1971, must successfully complete a Hunter Education Course. While certification is not required to purchase a hunting license, proof of certification or deferral is required to be on your person while hunting, either printed or electronically. The minimum age of certification is 9 years. For more information on course options and costs, check out the Hunter Education information via Texas Parks and Wildlife.
Let’s all do our part to ensure the safety of ourselves and those around us as we head out this hunting season. In the event of a hunting accident, Freestone Medical Center is here to help any way we can.