Deer hunting season is upon us again, so one can never emphasize paying close attention to all safety tips.  A hunting trip gives the family or friends an opportunity to bond and enjoy the great outdoors.  It’s also fun to bring your trusty four-legged friend, your dog, along, too.  When youngsters are involved, it is a good idea for them to first have a gun training safety course. 

In deer country, driving safety is foremost.  No driver wants to injure or kill a deer or any other animal by driving too fast, disregarding the fact that there are more deer roaming about in the month of November, due to hunting and also deer mating season.  

Driving tips issued by the Insurance Information Institute are to 

  • Be aware that deer usually travel in groups;
  • They are most active in the evening, around 6 to 9 p.m.;
  • They can be highly unpredictable, especially when caught in headlights;
  • Exposed to loud noises such as horns and large noisy trucks;
  • Confused by fast-moving vehicles.

According to the Institute, deer whistles mounted on the car or pickup are not too reliable, despite advertising claims have not proved effective at keeping deer out of a vehicle’s path.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found in a recent study of fatal animal crashes, sixty (60) per cent of people who died in these crashes were not wearing safety belts.  Most human deaths could be prevented if every driver buckled up and every motorcyclist wore a helmet. 

Deer hunting involves a lot of eager men, women, and children armed with high-powered rifles and unfortunately, not everyone is as safety conscious as they should be.  One tip is to never pull the trigger unless you are sure without doubt, that your target is a deer.  This sounds simple enough, but it is surprising how many hunting accidents are from hunters shooting other hunters by accident.  

Hunting and alcohol definitely don’t mix.  Just recently, some teenage boys were on an outing, (not deer hunting, just critter hunting), when one youngster accidentally shot and killed his best friend.  It was determined that it was an alcohol-involved accident.  Leave the beer at the campsite for after the hunt.  If you are underage, leave the beer at the store. 

Never hunt alone. Having a partner is a safety-must.  Be sure to tell your family or friends where you plan to be and when you plan to arrive home.  Keep your cell phone charged and in range, if possible.  

Be sure other shooters know that you are human, not a deer, by wearing hi-visibility gear, such as vests and caps.  LED lights that clip onto your cap also help you navigate in the dark.  

If you have a hunting stand, be sure to check it out for safety before using it.  Never carry a loaded gun up or down a hunting stand.  To ensure safety for entering and exiting a hunting stand, use a fall arrest system.  Figure out a plan on how you will safely lower yourself back to the ground should your fall arrest system catch you after a fall. 

Following proper gun safety rules means that you handle any gun as though it were loaded at all times.  Only load the gun when you are ready to use it.  Never point the gun at another person. Keep the gun’s muzzle pointed in a safe direction, usually toward the ground.  Always keep the gun’s safety on until you are ready to shoot. 

Please hunt safely and legally.  Obtain a license and as you do, ask if there are any safety brochures you can take along.  Prepare your children in the right way to respect guns and hunting.

Happy Hunting and Stay Safe!