All had different issues. One was gun safety. One was equipment safety. The third was a newcomer to hunting whose family worried about what they perceived as a rowdy activity of booze and bullets.
In all truthfulness hunting is a potentially dangerous sport that is actually very safe. Last year in Texas there were 23 hunting accidents and two fatalities, but there were about a million hunters who logged tens of millions of hunting days. That all means it was probably more dangerous to drive to a hunt than participate in it.
Hunting is supposed to be fun, but it also requires commonsense and a certain amount of maturity to be safe.
Unfortunately there are still rowdies who for some reason have to have too much to drink to have a good time when they go hunting. Probably the same ones that get plowed at a football game or other events.
For the most part, however, hunters take hunting serious and, like driving, don’t drink while hunting. I don’t know whether it is the dollars invested, the competition between hunters or that hunters have evolved, but thankfully it isn’t what it used to be.
Being in a safe hunting environment is a little like that old driving safety tip about driving defensively. Instead of depending on the other person to do the right thing; don’t get yourself in a dangerous position. And to be honest, that begins and ends with being as particular about whom you hunt with as you are about what you hunt with.
Hunt with others who hunt like you, who have the same attitude and goals. Hunt with those who think safety first.
I have been peppered by shotgun pellets, something that is inevitable if you bird hunt much. I have also been in a camp where a rifle, my rifle that was loaned to someone else, discharged around the vehicles. On another occasion one was mishandled and the floorboard was shot out of a truck.
Both were accidents, and avoidable, but in more than 50 years of hunting that isn’t a bad safety record.
He knows the blind isn’t 100 percent safe and has to deal with that every time he climbs in and out. What if he didn’t know?
In most cases the blinds are safer than they were in the 1970s when we made everything in the backyard of whatever lumber we can find. Blinds, good blinds, now have stairs instead of ladders and for aging hunters carrying a ton of gear that is a good thing.
Still, hunters need to take precautions. Make sure rifles and crossbows are unloaded when going in and coming out of a stand.
Use a rope to raise and lower guns and bows to a ladder stand, self-climbing stand or tripod.
As for gun safety, there are the 10 commandments everyone is taught in hunter education. Here is a shorthand list:
Make sure you guns are in good working order.
Don’t drive around with a loaded gun. Always keep the bolt open as a reminder and for added safety.
Use binoculars to identify a target before looking at it through a scope.
Don’t take the safety off until ready to shoot.
The truth is most accidents are bird hunters swinging on other hunters. Quail hunters solve this by working in a line and wearing orange. Dove hunters, and to a lesser degree duck hunters, need to think about where everyone is, and don’t worry about passing on a bird that flies in someone’s direction.
In hunting, nothing is truer than that old ad campaign that said guns don’t kill people, people kill people. It doesn’t take a lot for a hunt to go good or bad.
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