Conclusion Blog #10

Hey guys,

This will be my last post of the semester and I just want to say that I’ve had fun researching a topic that means so much to me personally.  I’ve had the opportunity to discuss hunters safety with countless people over the past few months and I think we can actually make a difference.

For my last post, I will summarize everything I’ve learned so far including most common accidents, how to avoid those accidents, research struggles, proposals and possible solutions.

Together we’ve learned that 1 in 3 hunters will fall from a tree stand at some point during their hunting life.  People make their own stand from scrap wood and nail them to trees thinking they did an adequate job only to wake up in the hospital with a severe concussion and multiple fractured ribs.  Tree stand safety is the easiest thing we can work to fix.  Majority of falls are due to inadequate stand supports (homemade stands,) failure to use safety harnesses, and alcohol consumption.  Please dont be stupid this hunting season. Spend the hundred bucks or so on a real stand, wear the harness that comes with it, and if you must drink, wait till your home so you dont endanger anyone else.

We’ve also learned that hunting accidents are grossly under reported because majority of states compile statistics on a voluntarily submitted basis.  Under funding is one cause of this and ill be sure to address this serious issue in my final report.

My final recommendations to the Safety Education Division of Maryland DNR will be to set a reasonable minimum age for unsupervised hunting, expand the hunters safety course to include a mandatory live fire, hands on proper tree stand usage, and stricter regulations instructors.  I am recommending instructors to be paid employees with a supervisor assigned but i realize the managerial limitations the department has.  If that is not feasible then at least a more in depth curriculum where the students are responsible for the material with no supervisory help allowed.

Thank you all for joining me on this journey, I’ve enjoyed myself more than i originally realized i would.  Remember your safety rules and together we can make a safer, more enjoyable hunting season for everyone this year.

Lane

 

What can we do Blog #9

Hey guys,

Thanks for joining me again for edition nine of my hunters safety blog.

As you know, over the past few months I have been extensively researching the nationwide epidemic that is the high number of hunting accidents. I’ve shared the different types of accidents with you, as well as possible causes to these. Today, however, i want to talk with you about what we can do, as outdoors enthusiasts, as hunters, as friends of hunters, and as parents or guardians to reduce the number of yearly accidents.

It does not appear as though any major legislative change is coming anytime soon and Natural Resources departments across the country seem to be content where the numbers currently are, so it is up to us to do our part to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe this hunting season.

Now would be the perfect time to revisit the 7 Types of Hunting Accidents to Avoid and to check out the 2 part blog series on them that i wrote in week four and week five.  We now know that tree stand falls happen to 1 in every 3 hunters at some time during their life so definitely revisit this post as well.  The first step to avoiding these accidents is to be aware that they can and do happen.

Specifically i want to discuss the 4 main safety rules to follow that are outlined here by OffGrid Survival.

  • Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction

Something as simple as getting too excited in a good hunting story can turn deadly when you are unaware of where you are pointing your weapon.  One slip of the finger, or  your weapon slips from your hands and bang.

  • There is no such thing as an unloaded weapon

It happens all the time, people pull the magazine out of the gun and forget about the one still loaded in the chamber. Even if you think it is unloaded, always treat your weapon as if it is loaded.

  • Know what is in front of and behind your target

Another accident that occurs far too often is not checking beyond your target.  When the deer walks out and your adrenaline is pumping, you put the crosshairs above the shoulder and shoot. You missed the deer but hit your friend hunting the other side of the field.  At 3000 feet per second, you dont have be off target by much to way overshoot.

  • Keep your finger off the trigger.

Your finger belongs on the trigger at one time and one time only:  when you are shooing your game.  Carry the gun by the butt and the stock, never by the trigger.  Accidents happen but this is the best way to prevent them.

Follow these safety tips and you are sure to have a safe experience this hunting season.  Last thing I will leave you with is this amusing video i was emailed the other day.  Take hunting seriously but also have fun with it.

Until next week,

Lane

9 Years old with a gun Blog #8

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Hey everyone,

Welcome back to another weekly edition of my Hunters safety blog. Today I want to talk about something that has been bothering me throughout my research.  It is agreed that majority of hunting accidents involve young people between the ages of 16 – 21.  It might be the invincible attitude young people tend to have or maybe just an overall carelessness and the thinking that “it could never happen to me, but whatever it is.  We need to find a way to eliminate it.

Its unrealistic to think that we can eliminate all hunting accidents because sometimes that is exactly what it is: an accident.  However, there is an alarming rate of injuries and deaths happening to our young people and any reduction we can cause is worth the cost but i will get more into that next week. What i really want to discuss with you today is this article written by Mike Stuckey (you can also find it in the Must Reads!! tab.)

In this article Mike tells us the minimum age requirement to hunt without supervision by state and let me tell you now, it is shocking.

  • Nine states have the minimum age set at 12 years old.
  • Missouri is 11 years old.
  • Alaska, Tennessee, and Louisiana is 10 years old.
  • In Texas the minimum age is 9 years old!
  • Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Washington have no minimum age requirement!

That means in seven states it is 100% legal to send an 8 year old into the woods with a high powered rifle to shoot a bear! Only if someone can give him a ride because the law wont allow him to drive for another 8 years.

There’s no question that children this young lack the comprehension ability, the real world experience, and the seriousness to handle the sport we love.  Instead of ignoring this issue we need to take a stand and stop setting our kids up for failure.

I don’t have all the answers or know the mental capacity of children at varying ages but i do know that no 9 year old belongs in the woods with a high powered gun by himself and you would think our lawmakers do too but that is apparently not true. However, not all the blame can be thrown onto lawmakers, its our job as parents and hunting enthusiasts to know when our young people are and are not ready to take on this pastime alone.

Thats all i have for this week, please join me next week as I go through proposals to the Safety Education Division as well as other recommendations for us citizens and lawmakers as well.

Until next week,

Lane