Hunters should remember these key steps to ensure safety for them and those around them.
- Know standard hunting regulations, as well as those for the area you are hunting.
- Wear blaze orange. Even when not legally required, blaze orange is highly recommended for visibility.
- Control the muzzle, ensuring that a firearm never is pointed in an unsafe direction.
- Keep your finger out of the trigger guard and away from the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
- Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
- Be sure of your target, and what is beyond it.
- Never shoot at sounds, movement, through thick brush or at sky-lined game. Never shoot toward a roadway, at a sky-lined animal, or at water or ice.
- Be sure to know where everyone in your hunt is located. Establish shooting lanes and do not swing your firearm outside of your safe zone of fire. Be in constant communication with your group.
- Keep your firearms unloaded when not in use, including vehicles and ATVs.
- Be aware of your surroundings, including landowners, hikers or other outdoor recreationists enjoying the same outdoor space as you.
Tree stand safety rules
Many choose to hunt deer from an elevated position for a multitude of reasons, but these heights do include some necessary safety precautions.
- Don’t hang stands alone; bring a friend or family member to help.
- Ensure that your straps connecting the stand and ladder to the tree are in good shape and aren’t frayed or torn.
- Always wear a safety harness when hanging stands and hunting. Read the instructions and make sure the harness is sized correctly. Use a lifeline to ensure you’re connected from the time you first step off the ground until you return.
- Use a haul line to bring your bow or firearm into the tree after you climb up and get situated. Never climb with your bow or firearm in your hands.
- Always use the “three-points-of-contact” rule when climbing the tree.