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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Deer Hunting Safety Saves Lives

In a tragic story reported in the Oklahoman, a deer hunter was found dead in his tree stand.  Initially, the thought was that he died of natural causes but further investigation indicates the man dropped his rifle from the stand and it shot him.

From the story:

1.  Keep your firearm unloaded until you're safely in your stand/blind.  In hunter safety class, this is a basic premise, but we tend to get lazy.  For me, I don't even put the magazine in the rifle until I am in my tree stand.  Rare is the opportunity to bag game on the way to the blind, but in those rare instances, your safety is more important than that backstrap.  In addition, it is illegal to transport a loaded firearm in your vehicle.  Don't do it.
2.  Invest in a rifle holder for your stand.  There are many products on the market to secure your firearm safely in the tree stand.  The specific circumstances surrounding the death of the hunter in the Oklahoman story are not known, but chances are that he did not have one of THESE in his stand.   

3.  Sleep - get some.  The excitement and anticipation of heading out early in the morning to bag that trophy buck can keep many a hunter awake all night, eager for the morning hunt.  Often, we head out to the stand still groggy, still foggy from the night previous and when you're not alert, that's when you make mistakes.

4.  No booze.  The rule around the Gorilla deer camp is that if you have had anything to drink during the day preceding the evening hunt, you stay at camp - you're not allowed to head to the woods.  Firearms and booze do not mix.

Hunting and angling are Oklahoma traditions and we are one of the safest states in the union, however, the tragic loss of life in this story need not happen again.

Be safe.  Please.