Brisk weather and falling leaves signal lots of autumn arrivals, including the start of hunting season. Whether you're a seasoned pro, an enthusiast, a beginner or someone who just wants to safely enjoy the outdoors, these hunting safety tips will help.
Hunting safety tips
- Follow firearm safety practices:
- Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
- Only point at what you plan to shoot.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
- Before shooting, clearly identify your target and what is beyond.
- Plan for the weather. Hunters can be at risk for hypothermia in cold, wet conditions, but also in temperatures as high as 50˚ F. Dress in warm layers, avoiding moisture-retaining cotton and remembering a water-repelling outer layer. Before setting out, check the weather report to make sure you won't be caught off guard by other inclement weather.
- Alert someone of your plans. Never head out on a hunting trip without letting a friend or relative know where you'll be and when you expect to return.
Safety tips for non-hunters near a hunting area
- Wear the right clothing. Avoid colors and patterns that blend into your surroundings, including whites, blacks, browns, earth tones, animal patterns and camouflage. Bright orange, red or green clothing is best, especially for vests and hats.
- Make some noise. This includes talking loudly (to yourself or a companion), whistling or singing, especially if you hear a shot nearby. Once hunters have acknowledged your location, show courtesy by reducing excessive noise that might scare away animals.
- Keep pets safe, too. Don't let dogs off-leash in an area that allows hunting, especially if they like to chase deer.
- Plan and avoid hunting areas and seasons. If you want to avoid encountering hunters altogether, find a location where hunting is not allowed. This typically includes most state and national parks.