- Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 13:06
- Published on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 11:48
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Thanksgiving is this week and in four weeks we will be celebrating Christmas. These two times of year are joyous times that we typically spend with family and outdoorsmen and women spend quite a bit more time afield too. With more of us in the woods and on the water there is a need for safety reminders so that time stays joyous and we all go home at the end of the day to tell fun stories about our time afield.
Normally we hear people say that young or inexperienced hunters are the ones that need a safety brief. While young age and inexperience does sometimes factor into bad decisions in the field, experience in the woods can sometimes cause people to let their guard down and they begin to feel invincible or say, “I am a good hunter and I have been doing this for years” or “I have plenty of experience” which often leads to sloppiness in the woods.
Some of the common mistakes that hunters make include:
• Not looking past their game animal and asking themselves what is behind it. Sometimes the excitement is so intense that hunters may be tempted to shoot before thinking it through. You have to ask yourself: “Where is the nearest house and in what direction? Where will my bullet or pellets go if I miss or if they go through the animal? Are there any other hunters nearby and where are they? And don’t depend on blaze orange to answer the last question. Blaze orange is helpful, no doubt, but if another hunter is behind some pine or holly, just emerging from a thicket or has for whatever reason removed their blaze orange cap for a second to scratch their head or take off a sweatshirt…. See where I am going with this?
• Taking skylined shots. This plays into the above paragraph. If a nice deer breaks out on a hill and it is skylined or nearly so it can be very tempting to take the shot. King George is not the rural county it once was. There are houses everywhere. We must exercise caution in this regard. Since the season began I had a doe that was just under the skyline that I could have shot fairly easily. We wanted and needed the meat and it was a very easy shot but the risk of the muzzleloader bullet passing through and deflecting upwards was too great. I have talked to several other people this season so far that said they had to “check” themselves before they shot too. The good news is that we all did think before we shot and made the correct decision.
The point is that we need to remind ourselves of the safety aspects of the pursuit we love and keep it safe for us and everyone around us.
• Treestands are great for hunting. I admit I don’t use them as much as I used to, but they are very effective. I have heard of several people this season that have fallen or nearly fallen from the stand. A fall from even ten feet can be fatal. Wear a safety harness. The full body safety vests by Hunters Safety System http://www.huntersafetysystem.com/ are easy to put on even in the dark. They don’t cut off circulation and if you do fall you are in good shape and can probably call for help. The other thing that I encourage other hunters to do is to clear out around the base of your stand. If you cut small saplings don’t leave the stubs. If you were to fall these can puncture you. Get rid of all stumps too.
Disabled Veterans Hunt
Don’t forget the Disabled Veterans on December 1st at Caledon State Park. Volunteers should show up at daybreak with plenty of blaze orange, a walking stick and waterproof boots. Breakfast of donuts, coffee, and sometimes biscuits, along with a lunch of venison stew, is usually served. Come ready to make some noise and give our disabled veterans a great day afield. Bring a camera too.