Some Basic Hunter Safety Tips

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Start the hunting season off smart and safe with these tips for firearm and tree stand safety from the DEC!!Cattaraugus County has been named #1 overall by New York Game and Fish Magazine for turkey hunting and is in the top three for deer hunting by DEC reports.  With our lush landscapes and many hills and valleys, hunters are in their own paradise.  Conservationist magazine recently published the Ten Commandments of Firearm Safety in their October 2013 issue.  Seems like common sense, but never the less, it is important to review these suggestions. 

1. Watch that muzzle!  Keep it pointed in a safe direction at all times.

2. Treat every firearm with the respect due a loaded gun. It might be loaded, even if you think it isn’t.

3. Be sure of the target and what is in front of it and beyond it.  Know the identifying features of the game you hunt. Make sure you have an adequate backstop- don’t shoot at a flat, hard surface or water.

4. Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot. This is the best way to prevent an accidental discharge.

5. Check your barrel and ammunition.  Make sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions, and carry only the proper ammunition for your firearm.

6.  Unload firearms when not in use.  Leave actions open, and carry firearms in cases and unloaded to and from the shooting area.

7.  Point a firearm only at something you intend to shoot.  Avoid all horseplay with a gun.

8.  Don’t run, jump, or climb with a loaded firearm. Unload a firearm before you climb a fence or tree, or jump a ditch. Pull a firearm toward you by the butt, not the muzzle.

9. Store firearms and ammunition separately and safely.  Store each in secured location beyond the reach of children and careless adults.

10. Avoid alcoholic beverages before and during shooting.  Also avoid mind- or behavior-altering medicines or drugs.

Another suggestion that is good to follow is to wear "Hunter Orange".  This is bright orange and available in most hunting clothing.  Worried that you won't be hidden from the animals sight?  Deer cannot tell red and oranges from greens and browns.  The DEC website has an interesting view of what a hunter looks like to humans in orange, and then what deer and game animals see the hunter as. 

Tree stands have attributed to many injuries involving hunters and in some cases can be more dangerous than the usage of firearms.  Here are some more tips from the DEC:

1. Hunt deer, not trees.  Find the deer first, then find a tree within distance. 

2. Use a sturdy, portable stand.

3. Know the rules.  There are rules and regulations about what hardware can be placed in trees and what manipulations can be done to trees on public lands.  See DEC website for details. 

4. Don't go too high.  15 to 20 feet is high enough.  

5. Use a safety belt for climbing.

6. Never try to carry guns or bows up and down trees.  Use a rope!

7. As soon as you get in a tree stand -- strap in.  

Hunting remains safer than ever, but we cannot become complacent, as every hunting related shooting incident is preventable!


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