Im­por­tant safety in­for­ma­tion for hunters

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

As the start of sea­son known as The Roar ap­proaches, en­thu­si­as­tic hunters are al­ready plan­ning their trips into the bush to catch the elu­sive deer. The Roar is the sea­son when stags are most vo­cal, call­ing to at­tract not only the at­ten­tion of mates and pro­tect­ing their ter­ri­tory but there is none who respond more en­thu­si­as­ti­cally to this call than a HUNTER. Safety for the hunters is an im­por­tant is­sue through this time, from the cloth­ing which is worn through to firearm safety, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and the prepa­ra­tion un­der­taken prior to the hunt. If you are new to hunt­ing or haven’t been hunt­ing for a while it’s a great idea to take a hunt­ing safety course. Even if you are an avid and reg­u­lar hunter the course is a good re­minder of the ba­sics and will cover safe han­dling of your gun, care of your gun, hunt­ing laws, and other pre­cau­tions re­lat­ing to hunt­ing. Hunt­ing is a sport en­joyed by many and there’s noth­ing like the thrill of hunt­ing your favourite game. But a hunter should al­ways take the time to en­sure they have fol­lowed all the safety pre­cau­tions and make this year’s hunt­ing trip a safe one! 1. Think be­fore you pull the trig­ger – iden­tify the tar­get and make sure what you are fir­ing at is an­i­mal not hu­man. De­ter­mine that you have a safe back­stop or back­ground and know the range of your weapon. Even a .22 rim­fire can travel over 2-1/2 miles. 2. Al­ways keep the safety on un­til ready to fire and al­ways point the muz­zle in a safe di­rec­tion. 3. Treat ev­ery firearm with re­spect and make sure you have read your in­struc­tion man­ual care­fully be­fore you han­dle new firearms. 4. Un­load firearms when they are not in use and store sport­ing arms in cases when trav­el­ling to and from shoot­ing ar­eas. 5. Han­dle the firearms and am­mu­ni­tion care­fully. Never climb a fence or tree or jump a ditch or cross dif­fi­cult ter­rain with a loaded firearm. If you hap­pen to fall, dis­as­sem­ble the gun and check the bar­rel from the breech end for ob­struc­tions. 6. Be sure you know where your com­pan­ions are at all times. If in doubt, never take a shot. When hunt­ing, wear day­light flu­o­res­cent orange so you can be seen from a dis­tance or in heavy cover. 7. Show re­straint and pass up shots which have the slight­est chance of be­ing un­safe. 8. Don’t drink al­co­hol or take drugs be­fore or while han­dling firearms as they im­pair nor­mal phys­i­cal and men­tal body func­tions and af­fect emo­tions, mak­ing it eas­ier to lose con­trol. 9. Be aware of ad­di­tional cir­cum­stances which re­quire added cau­tion or safety aware­ness and al­ways wear eye and ear pro­tec­tion when shoot­ing firearms. 10. Dress for the weather, take a com­pass and maps to pre­vent from get­ting lost, and be alert for other sources of dan­ger. When hunt­ing for deer, wear­ing bright colours is the first step to­wards safety and pro­tec­tion. Deer can­not see you but ad­di­tional hunters and hik­ers can. The proper cloth­ing should al­ways be worn so that other hunters can see you and do not mis­take you for a tar­get. You need to wear a bright orange hat and vest for sure, and other bright cloth­ing is also ad­vised. The more you stand out the safer you will be. For­get the cam­ou­flage. Flu­o­res­cent orange cloth­ing has be­come stan­dard equip­ment for hunters. It is some­times re­ferred to as ‘‘hunter orange’’. Be­cause it looks so bright to hu­mans (but not most game an­i­mals) and looks like noth­ing in na­ture, it pre­vents other hunters from mis­tak­ing a per­son for an an­i­mal, or shoot­ing in your di­rec­tion. Hunters who wear hunter orange are seven times less likely to be shot than those who don’t wear it. Heav­ily forested ar­eas are of­ten shared by hik­ers, jog­gers, campers, and sea­sonal hunters. Dur­ing hunt­ing sea­son this can be a dan­ger­ous mix. If you are go­ing to be us­ing an area that is used by hunters make sure you al­ways are wear­ing bright cloth­ing and re­flec­tors so that you are not mis­taken for game. It’s never a good idea to bring chil­dren into an ac­tive hunt area. All hunters should de­velop a code that make them good hunters. These ‘‘hunter ethics’’ en­force the ba­sics of hunt­ing safety, and de­velop cer­tain re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to the sport, which are as im­por­tant as han­dling a weapon safely. Obey all the rules of safety and in­sist that those around you do the same. Obey all game laws and in­sist that those hunt­ing with you do like­wise. Do your best to ac­quire marks­man­ship and hunt­ing skills that as­sure clean, sports­man­like skills. Sup­port con­ser­va­tion ef­forts that as­sure good hunt­ing for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. Don’t be a slob. Keep your camp­site neat, and don’t of­fend oth­ers by openly dis­play­ing your kill in camp or on your ve­hi­cle. Pass along to other hunters, es­pe­cially young­sters, the at­ti­tudes and skills es­sen­tial to be­ing a true out­door sports­man. If you are plan­ning to hunt on pri­vate land you need to get the landown­ers per­mis­sion be­fore en­ter­ing. Some landown­ers will al­low you to ac­cess their land, but oth­ers will not and a hunter needs to re­spect their wishes as it is their land. If you can­not ob­tain per­mis­sion then look for an­other area to hunt. Never hunt in ar­eas that are high traf­fic ar­eas with ei­ther peo­ple or ve­hi­cles and never hunt in an area where dis­charg­ing a firearm is pro­hib­ited, and al­ways obey all lo­cal hunt­ing laws.

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