Hunting season is here and from shore to shore sportsmen are spending their days off hoping to get their next trophy. Believe it or not, first responders do get time off and many of us also enjoy spending our time off in the field. Having a hobby, something to take your mind off your job, is essential to keeping sane. But it is also important to make sure your hobby doesn’t become the death of you.
Hunting is not an overly dangerous pastime, but it does have its dangers. Chief among these is accidental falls from tree stands, something which claims the life of far too many sportsmen each season. Luckily, it is not too hard to avoid becoming a statistic; all you need to do is follow some simple safety rules.
- Know you equipment – very few hunters would consider venturing into the woods with a new firearm they have never fired and the same should go for your tree stand. Get it out of the box and practice setting it up. Read the manual and make sure you understand all the features, parts and limitations. Learn from practice rather than trial and error.
- Let someone know where you are – if an accident does happen the last thing you want is for those who are missing you to have no idea where to look. Make sure that someone knows where you will be hunting and how to get to your stand just in case.
- Always strap in – the single most important thing you can do to prevent a fall from your stand is to never leave the ground without a safety harness. If your feet leave the ground, your harness should be attached. Make sure you use a harness designed for hunting, that fits you properly and which includes drop stirrups (to relieve pressure from legs if you do fall).
- If you are not comfortable, get down – It’s tempting to hunt no matter what. Bad weather and lack of sleep are but a few of the issues hardcore hunters will push through for a day in the woods. However, balancing on an elevated platform during high winds or when you can’t seem to keep your eyes open can be deadly. Sometimes it is just better to stay on the ground.
- Never forget it can happen to you – I doubt any hunter walked into the woods thinking “This is it, this is the day I will have an accident.” I would bet that most have said just the opposite “It will never happen to me.” Guess what? Thinking it will never happen to you is the first step to having an accident!
By all means enjoy your time away from the job. Take in the wild open spaces and maybe bag a new mount for the man cave wall. Just make sure that you don’t fall prey to an accident when they are so easy to avoid. Remember, whether hunting bad guys or big game the name of the game is going home each night.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.