I was in second year when I took my hunting education course. Despite my young age, there are still some vivid memories of this safety training. Most of them relate to hunting accidents. The instructors brought peeled cannons and exploded revolvers and rifles which we circulated that day. Hunting instructional videos showcased fatal mistakes we should never make in the field: a turkey hunter crawling through weeds and sticking his shotgun barrel in the mud; a hunter who shot his boyfriend as he was pulling a loaded gun out of the truck; and a kid who shot his brother as he tried to cross a barbed wire fence with his gun in his hand.

Recently, an archery hunting company recently posted a similar image on their Instagram page. PSE Archery posted this photo of an archery hunter jumping off a fence with a notched arrow. The caption reads: “Make moves at the last light.” “

PSE warned would-be thieves with a “warning” in the caption that read: “Actions performed by a trained professional, do not try”. Despite this warning, the photo is certainly sending the wrong message. You should never jump over a fence with a notched arrow, let alone a point with a wide point. Plus, no trained professional would ever try to take such a stupid photo. The fact that he’s staged doesn’t make him any less dangerous for the guy jumping the fence.

Posting this same image on the photographer’s page indicates that the photo was captured on its own using a tripod. Which makes sense, because if another hunter had been there they would have told him it was a stupid thing to do. A “rad” photo isn’t worth hanging a broad head in the breastbone while jumping over a fence, just to capture a product photo.

Hunter Safety Needs Your Attention

This photograph is just one symptom of what I see as a much bigger problem, which is a general lack of attention to detail and analysis of the hunter safety situation in the field. In this example, a hunting training instructor would suggest putting the bow down (without a notched arrow) and sliding it under the fence before crossing if you are hunting solo. If you’re hunting with a buddy, you can hand your bow back to him, cross, and then take both of your bows as he crosses.

Hunter safety is more critical today than ever before, and arguably more with the influx of new adult hunters heading solo. Many long-time hunters have taken countless safety lessons and lectures before we attended hunting education and after our deaths. We’ve had moms, dads, or mentors berating us when we make a mistake or catch us before we make it. Hunter safety has become second nature to us long-time hunters. We don’t just follow a set of rules, we know the “why” behind them. Careful hunters also have the ability to examine a situation, recognize potential dangers, and do their best to mitigate them.

But not all hunters have this lifelong training and lessons. Many hunting-related injuries and deaths are the result of complacency, sheer ignorance or chance. For example, an archery hunter in Colorado was killed by a muzzleloader who failed to correctly identify his target last month. I know of a brown bear guide here in Alaska who was stalking a client. Without telling the guide, the hunter notched an arrow as he walked close behind the guide. When the guide turned to say something to his client, the hunting head went through the guide’s arm. And a few years ago, bow hunter Dave Brinker was out hunting elk when an arrow fell from his quiver and impaled his leg. He documented the experience on social media as a warning to other hunters. Damn, even as I type this I have a gash in my thumb from a light tapping on the corner of a sharp razor point. The reality is that hunting accidents happen to even the most experienced hunters. But the less careful you are, the more likely they are to occur or become fatal.

Read more : How to Hunt: A Step-by-Step Guide for New Adult Hunters

A hunting accident can happen anywhere

The simple act of gutting a deer can cause serious injury if you’re not careful. Joe genzel

There is a wide range of reported hunting accidents and injuries. In the Midwest and East, where tree hunting is popular, falls from elevated shooting platforms are common. If you are a mountain hunter, falls in high ground are just as likely to kill you as abnormal weather events. I got a call once while on a Dall sheep hunt. The weather turned gloomy overnight and I had to crawl out of my tent and descend the mountain in the dark for eight hours, pouring rain and hurricane-force winds, to survive.

According to a report in the Wilderness and Environmental Medicine Journal, a nine-year study of the injuries and illnesses of big game hunters in western Colorado showed that the leading cause of emergency room visits was heart problems. Of the actual trauma cases examined in the study, the most common injury (including in 16 deaths during this time period) is listed as lacerations. This is followed by sprains, followed by injuries from ATV and other motor vehicle crashes. Gunshot wounds accounted for less than 1% of accidents.

The Colorado study also noted the high percentage of knife lacerations, mainly when skinning or gutting animals. I would venture to assume that most hunters who have handled many animals have cut themselves over the years, even if it’s just a gash. With the increase in popularity and availability of super sharp scalpel knives, knowing how to be safe and being aware of what you are doing is even more essential. Often times you are working on an animal in a tired, but excited state of mind. On top of that, you might be trying to work on a steep incline or in the rain, snow, or darkness.

Anytime you handle or work with a sharp knife or wide point, a serious cut is just one stumble. In fact, I know a man who almost died sharpening a knife. He somehow slipped and he cut his femoral artery. Twice in the same year, during different sheep hunts, I almost tore my fingertip while cutting salami in a very remote country. I no longer bring unsliced ​​meat on backpacking trips. It just isn’t worth the risk. That’s why I struggle with the message he sends when hunters take unnecessary risks, often in the name of a social media post. This shows a contempt not only for personal safety, but for setting a clever example for other hunters.

Read more : Is it time for hunters and shooters to ditch social media?

Even the routine or somewhat “regular” activities that you will engage in while hunting present major risks. This is why hunter education puts so much emphasis on things like keeping guns unloaded when getting in or out of vehicles, or crossing or over obstacles (like a fence). Many of these things are taught and reiterated because these are historically common situations where injury can occur. The point is, everything a hunter does should be thought of in the context of safety. Crossing a creek may seem straightforward enough, but even it can be deadly. In August 2021, an Alaskan sheep hunter drowned while attempting to cross a glacial stream on a solo hunt.

Remember, we have a responsibility to make our best safety decisions, for ourselves, our families, other hunters, as well as any potential first responders who may come and get us. It’s not about following a rulebook, but about developing an ability to see and avoid unsafe conditions, and to help others do the same.



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