7 Deadly Sins (Part 1) Blog #4

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Hey guys,

Welcome back to another weekly edition of my Hunters Safety blog.  If you haven’t already, i would recommend checking out the earlier posts and the Must Reads!! tab.

So this week I want to talk to you guys about something that most people and apparently the Hunters Safety Course do not realize.  Not all hunting injuries are firearms related.  Before i started researching this topic heavily, when someone said there was a hunting accident, I assumed someone was shot.  Many times this is the case but its not always the case and should not be treated as if it is.

In a wonderfully designed and written article by Jason Herbert from North American Whitetail, we come to the realization that when hunting, danger is prevalent in just about everything we do.  The focus of Jason’s article is to highlight the 7 most common types of hunting injuries we should be aware of and what we can do to avoid them.

First, and statistically most common, is what we all expect; accidental shootings. Whether the shooter fails to check beyond the target, drops or mishandles the gun, shoots while swinging on a moving target, or simply fails to recognize a hunter in the woods, accidental shooting are the most common and deadly type of accident that occurs in the woods.

Second is a topic that i touched on last week; treestand accidents.  Hunters often attempt to climb the stand with the weapon in one hand instead of using a strap to lift the weapon.  Other times hunters slip from stands while ascending, descending, or adjusting position for a shot. Believe it or not, some hunters actually fall asleep in the early hours and fall from the stand.  No matter how it happens, tree stand accidents are very common and the fact that Maryland Hunters Safety Course does not include tree stand safety as a hands on training exercise is appalling to me.

The third accident that is something hard to avoid and even harder to prevent is accidents due to poor health.  Hunting can be a very strenuous task.  Hunters often have to drag 200 lbs animals miles back to the road through marsh, thickets, hills, and mountains. Over exertion, fatigue, dehydration, heat stroke, pulled muscles, and even heart attacks can often be the results. Although i realize that these injuries cannot be blamed on a lack of safety training, I still see many ways in which the Hunters Safety Course could better prepare or inform hunters of the dangers that we are not always aware of.

As hunters we need to take responsibility for our own actions and do out part to prevent these accidents from happening.  Take the necessary steps, get proper training and safety equipment to prevent yourself from becoming one of these statistics.  The first three of the seven common accidents are all I have time for today but i will wrap up next week with the final four.

Until then,

Lane

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The Silent Killer of Hunters Blog #3

Hello and welcome back,

Another week has passed into the early stages of deer hunting season and another local story caught my attention.  When people hear about hunting accidents, they almost exclusively think about someone accidentally being shot by a hunter.  We can thank Dick Cheney for that one.  However, this is an example of one type of accident that occurs entirely too often for how easy it is to avoid.  How many times have you had to tell your children to buckle up in the car?  I know what you’re about to say.  “Too many to count.”  It’s just something about being young, I would say it’s the innocence.  They don’t realize what could happen at any given moment.

Same thing goes for hunting.  I never wore a safety harness when I hunted up until last fall.  I drove to our farm early one morning, ready to get out in the woods.  It had rained the night before and with the dew on the ground, everything was soaked.  I went out to my stand, and more carefully than i ever had before, I climbed the ladder, sat down, and waited.  It wasn’t but an hour or two after that, i heard a faint rumbling. As each minute passed the rumbling got louder and louder until the noise was too loud to ignore.  I turned backwards to see what was going on and what I saw then, is an image I doubt I’ll ever forget.  Just behind me, about a quarter mile away, a rescue helicopter was landing in our field.  My great uncle, who was 65 at the time, had slipped and fallen 20+ ft. from his stand and had to be medevaced to the hospital.

One thing that bothers me now looking back, is that up until that day. I had no idea how to even work a harness.  I actually had to have a friend show me how to work it later that day. I never remembered learning about it while taking Hunter’s Safety and my friend from last weeks interview confirmed this. I feel now that not only should every young hunter learn how to properly use a tree stand with all of its safety components but that Hunter’s Safety Course should put a severe emphasis on it.

A recent survey showed that 33% of all hunters will at some point fall from a tree stand with half of those falls happening while the hunter is actually hunting (not climbing or descending the ladder). As a stubborn teenager, it took this personal experience to make me realize how important safety harnesses are and with these outrageous numbers, I don’t see how this is even debatable.  Had my Great Uncle not thrown his weapon away from the tree as he was falling, he may not have made it to tell his story.

Last thing for this week is a helpful video that shows a good technique for all you hunters or parents of hunters who want  you or your kids to be safe this hunting season.  Feel free to leave a comment. Thanks, and I’ll see you next week.

Lane