AUBURN, Ala. — It’s that time of year again–the time for football, falling leaves and family. But for many people, fall means one thing in particular–hunting season. Although hunting is a popular activity, it can be a dangerous one, too.
“Hunting is one of the safest outdoor activities because most hunters realize their responsibility to be safe,” said Dr. Jim Armstrong, a wildlife scientist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. “Being sure of your target, maintaining muzzle control at all times, and being aware of your surroundings will help keep hunting a safe and enjoyable form of outdoor recreation.”
Veteran hunters echo Armstrong’s emphasis on safety.
“The number one rule is to treat all guns as if they are loaded, ” said Bert McCreary, a hunter out of Enterprise, Alabama who has been hunting for more than 45 years. “No one was ever been shot with an unloaded gun. Never point a gun in anyone’s direction,” he said.
“You should also never place a loaded weapon in your vehicle, always have the muzzle of your weapon pointed to the ground when walking and frequently check the safety of the weapon to make sure it is on. I would also say you should never cross a fence with a loaded weapon,” McCreary added.
Lynn Crutchfield, another long-time hunter from Enterprise, had a few tips as well. She said, “Always keep your gun cleaned and well maintained so it is less likely to jam or misfire.” Crutchfield also said that since it is possible to get lost or hurt while hunting, it is best to always let someone know where you will be going.
Rules of a Hunting Club
Keith Quick, a member of a hunting club, has these tips:
- Gun safety: guns should always be unloaded before going back to the house.
- Identify your target: know what you are shooting at at all times and don’t take careless shots.
- Tree stand safety: there are many dangers associated with getting in and out of elevated tree stands. If a hunter is going to leave the ground to hunt, require they use a safety harness.
These are just a few guidelines to live by in the woods this hunting season. Hunting can be a fun activity, but it is important to be well educated on all of the dangers that can come along with it.
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