During firearm deer hunting season and throughout the sporting year, the key to hunting and outdoor safety is awareness. Knowing what conditions you may encounter, what equipment you need, and having an understanding of where hunting is allowed before you head out will go a great distance toward ensuring a safe and enjoyable trip. Here are some useful tips for making your next wilderness hike or hunting trip the safest and most fulfilling yet.
Safety for Hunters
- Treat Every Firearm Like it’s Loaded: This may seem obvious, but after you’ve been out for a few seasons, it’s easy to become complacent when handling your gun or someone else’s. Before handling an unfamiliar firearm, ask the gun’s owner if it is loaded, and have them show the location of the safety and other important features.
- Always Point the Muzzle in a Safe Direction: This simple rule could prevent most firearm accidents. Relying on the safety to prevent an accident is risky; the safety on every gun is a mechanical device that can fail. Keeping your gun pointed away from yourself and others keeps everyone safe.
- Put Time into Preparation: Put your hunting plans in writing, giving the date, when you left to hunt, and when you will return. Leave a copy at home and a copy in your vehicle so you can more easily be located if an accident occurs; always tell someone when you plan to go out hunting. Check the weather, and dress properly for both the weather and the terrain.
- Safety Orange Saves Lives: During certain seasons in Michigan, hunters must wear safety orange that is visible from all sides. Being seen is being safe, so avoid wearing white or tan when hunting. When hunting with a dog, make sure your furry friend has on a hunter orange vest, or some other bright, highly visible color.
Safety for Non-Hunters
- Be Seen and Heard: When heading out for a morning of birding or hiking, wear bright clothing in colors that stand out like orange, red or green. Avoid wearing tans, browns, earth-toned green or white. Whistle, sing or talk while you walk to alert hunters that you are in the area. If you hear shooting while on an outing, raise your voice to let hunters know you are nearby.
- Do Your Homework: Find out when your local hunting seasons take place, and make a list of places where you can hike where hunting is prohibited. Hiking in a state or national park, or hiking on Sundays will keep you clear of hunters.
- Protect Your Pet: If your dog loves a good romp in the woods, make sure they are protected with a brightly-colored vest or visible bandana.
Following a few basic guidelines for safety lets everyone get out and enjoy the natural beauty of Michigan without hunting and firearm accidents. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a hunting or firearm accident, it’s important to seek expert legal counsel. At Harris Law, we work hard for the injured. Let Dan Harris and our caring team help you get relief for the medical bills and other financial burdens resulting form your accident. Call us today at 231.347.4444 or fill out the free consultation form in the sidebar to schedule your personal consultation.