Hunting safety tips

Safe Hunting Tips

Every year we hear of an incident that someone is hurt during hunting season.  We have some tips to help you have a safe and hopefully successful hunting experience.

Tip 1:  Gun Safety

It seems the most obvious, however it cannot be stressed enough that gun safety is key when hunting.  The New Hampshire Fish and Wildlife website provided the following list of firearm safety tips.

Ten Commandments of Hunting Safety

  • Treat every firearm with the same respect due a loaded firearm.
  • Control the direction of your firearm’s muzzle.
  • Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
  • Be sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions.
  • Unload firearms when not in use.
  • Never point a firearm at anything you do not intend to shoot.
  • Never climb a fence or tree, or jump a ditch or log, with a loaded firearm.
  • Never shoot a bullet at a flat, hard surface or water.
  • Store firearms and ammunition separately.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages or other mood-altering drugs before or while shooting.

We would like to add:

  • Go to Hunter Safety class as a refresher for the do’s and don’ts.
  • Make sure you know your equipment and how it works.
  • Be sure your rifle is sighted in correctly and you have done some target practicing.

Tip 2:  Wear Hunter Orange

Not only is it the law, it’s smart.  The only way that someone from a distance can tell you are not wild game, is if you are wearing orange.  That being said, many hunters wear brown or camouflage and it is your responsibility to know what you are shooting at.  Be sure of your target.

Tip 3:  Don’t Hunt Alone

Hunting with a partner can be life-saving and game catching.  If an accident were to happen, having a partner that can call for help may mean the difference between life and death.  It is easier to navigate unfamiliar terrain with a side-kick.  Having a spotter while you are shooting can be very beneficial.

Tip 4:  Be prepared

The Boy Scout motto has never been more important than when hunting in Montana.  Not only can we get extreme weather changes, but cold rain and snow are common as early as September.  Add some typical wind and hypothermia is a reality.

  • Tell someone your plans, where you are going and when you will return.
  • Take a compass or GPS with you and know how to use them.
  • Have a map of the area you are in for reference.
  • Be able to light a fire, even in the rain.
  • Take clothing layers, including a change in clothing.
  • Be ready to spend the night outdoors.  Take a space blanket in your pack for warmth.
  • Watch for bears and know what to do if you encounter one.
  • Have a plan if you get lost or are injured.
  •  Don’t drink alcohol or take drugs before going hunting.

Tip 5:  Know your limits

Much of the terrain in Montana is rugged and steep.  Keep that in mind as you are looking for that perfect animal to harvest.  Hiking at 5000 to 9000 feet is very different than sea level.  It is very important to know what your personal limitations are and be willing to voice your concerns.

Vehicles and horses have limitations also.  We encourage you to know what those are so accidents don’t happen.  ATV’s can’t always pull that animal up the hill with all 10 of your friends on the front so it won’t roll over.

These are only a few tips.  There are many websites related to this subject and we encourage you to read them and take the advice offered.  Wishing you a safe and successful hunt.