Deer season sees hunters come out in their droves at a chance that comes once each year. Among the seasoned hunters are a few newbies who are anxious to get their first kill. Many of them are excited but scared to shoot wrong or miss the deer altogether. If you are a new hunter, you are probably wondering what you should do to stay safe while out hunting.
The first step would be to ensure your firearm is pointed away from you before you attempt to fire. Secondly, you need to ensure you have your gun pointed away from other hunters. Sounds simple, right? You will be surprised how fast you can forget this simple rule when you spot your first deer. It is like all sense flies out of the window, and all you can think about is getting that first kill.
Just because the gun is facing away from you or your fellow hunters doesn’t mean you are entirely safe out there in the wild. A lot can happen as you are out hunting. There is a lot more you need to do to ensure your safety when you are out hunting.
12 Steps to Stay Safe While Hunting
Plan for Your Trip
Setting up to go camping is not something you do last minute. Take the time to plan ahead of time and make sure you are taking all the necessary precautions. Create a checklist of all of the items you may need head of time. Consider these items to get started:
|Hunting License||Check Local Sporting Goods Store|
|Landowner Permission||At least two weeks ahead of time|
|Deer Tags||Check local state info|
|Ammo/ Ammo Case||TOURBON Folding Camo Ammo wallet|
|Binoculars||Bushnel 334211 Trophy Binocular|
|Backpack/Storage||YETI LoadOut GoBox|
|Toilet Paper||Waterproof Toilet Paper Dispenser|
|Whistle||SportDOG Hunting Whistle|
|Extra Batteries||Duracell Optimum|
|Hand Warmers||HotHands Super Warmers (40 Pack)|
|Lighter/Fire Starter||Swiss Safe 5-1 Fire Starter|
These items are really just the basics. You’ll also want to consider some of the products and suggestions below as a part of your hunting plan.
Plan for the Weather
Before you head out to go hunting, check the weather to know what to expect. This will help you prepare beforehand and avoid being caught off-guard. Hunters are at risk of getting hypothermia when it is cold. Ensure you layer up, so you stay warm. Avoid wearing moisture-retaining clothes like cotton and always wear an outer layer that repels water in case it rains.
Familiarize Yourself With the Environment
Before you embark on hunting, take a walk around the hunting site. Know the ins and outs and the best routes to take. Although experienced hunters might skip this step, a newbie needs to do this. It will help you know the area well, and you avoid getting lost in the woods. For the best experience, do this during the daytime when you can see clearly.
Carry a First Aid Kit
Accidents happen when you are out hunting. Many of them might not be severe, while others will require you to visit the hospital. It would be wise to carry a first aid kit with you to be ready if an accident happens. Ensure your first aid kit is fully stocked and that you always have clean water.
We Recommend: Surviveware Large First Aid Kit
Let Someone Know of Your Plans
Before you go out hunting, ensure you inform someone of your plans. You might be gone for hours or a couple of days. It might not seem like a big deal, but having someone know where you are will come in handy if you run into trouble while out. It makes coming to look for you easier since they know where you are. Let them know you’ll text or call by a certain time to let them know you are ok. Set a calendar reminder in your cell phone so that you don’t forget and cause unneeded panic.
Carry a GPS Device or Compass
To help you navigate through the woods better, carry a GPS or compass with you. While you might have taken the time to familiarize yourself with the area, there is a chance of getting lost while hunting. The GPS or compass will guide you, so you need not worry should you get lost.
Recommended: Garmin eTrex 10 Worlwide Handheld GPS
Familiarize Yourself With Your Gun
Apart from the quick lesson on pointing the gun away from you that I have mentioned, you must know your gun. One of the things you should remember about gun safety is always to treat your gun as if it is loaded, even when it is not. Before you shoot at something, know what is in the background as well. If you have not used your gun in a while, it will help if you went out and practiced shooting at a target before hunting.
Recommended: NRA Step by Step Guide to Gun Safety
Carry a Communication Device
Hunting takes you out of touch with the outside world. It would help, however, if you had a means of communicating with them. Pack a satellite phone or a walkie-talkie when you go out hunting. A walkie will come in handy if you are out hunting in a group. You can communicate with fellow hunters better. A satellite phone has better reception while out in the wild.
Recommended: Midland 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way-Radio
Us the Buddy System
If you have never hunted before, it will help if you go with an experienced hunter. They will know the ins and outs of the hunting area. They can also offer helpful tips on what you should look out for. It also helps when you are with someone in case of an accident out in the field.
Buy a Quality Tree Stand
Tree stands offer a better vantage point when you are hunting. They are also one of the leading causes of accidents during hunting season. A. Ensure you get the right stand according to the regulations in place. The stand should be strong enough to handle your weight and the weight of the gear you carry. Do not climb the tree stand with a loaded gun or a drawn arrow. Instead, use a haul line to raise or lower your gear.
Recommended: Summit Trestands 81120 Viper SD Climbing Treestand
Wear Bright Colors
When you are out hunting, avoid colors that blend with the environment. You are advised to wear bright orange colors, which will make you visible to other hunters nearby.
Make Some Noise
Should you hear a shot nearby, ensure you make a noise to alert the hunters of your location. Once the hunters know and acknowledge where you are, be courteous, and reduce the noise to scare away the animals. This is another reason it is good to plan ahead and get a property owners permission. They should be able to tell you if other hunters may be in the area when you are there ahead of time. If possible, you may be able to obtain their information ahead of time to coordinate locations.
While observing the above mentioned rules will help you, I am sure you may still have a few doubts about hunting. Worry not, I’ve included some additional tips and tricks below that will go the extra mile to keep you safe on your next hunting adventure.
Stay Safe from Predators and Other Hunters
Its hard to imagine, but in certain environments there may actually be animals interested in hunting the hunters. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but if you have ever seen the video of the mounting lion chasing the hunter you will know what I mean.
1. Scent Blocking
Deer pick on scent 1000 times better than humans do. For this reason, you may end up spooking the animals before you get the chance to hunt. You can do various things to reduce the chances of the deer picking up on your scent. This will also help keep you undetected from animals that may be interested in your scent such as mountain lions or bears. Keep any food in a well sealed cooler.
Before you go hunting, wash your clothes in unscented soap. It reduces the chances of the seers sniffing you out. You can also bathe using unscented soap to reduce your natural scent. Remember, animals can smell so much better than we can, and you know just how much you stink.
Also, take note of how the wind blows when you are out hunting. To reduce the risk of deer picking your scent, you might consider having the wind blowing from the front to the back. While this may work for you at the beginning, it might also work against you. In case the deer is coming from behind, you might not see it and spook it before you get a chance to hunt.
Various shops sell scent blocking colognes. You can spray this on your clothes to reduce the chances of the deer sniffing you out. The scent blockers are often pricy, but it is a worthy investment if you plan on hunting once a year.
2. Stay Alert and Trust Your Gut
Believe it or not, we have a lot of survival instincts within ourselves. If you start to get an uneasy feeling, or feel that something is watching you there is a decent chance you are right. Many predators can be hard to spot and are amazing trackers while staying hidden. Sometimes your best defense is going to be trusting your gut and communicating with your hunting partner when possible.
3. Don’t Touch or Carry Carcasses and Bones
Touching or carrying bones or a carcass that you come across may seem harmless but it may actually attract the wrong kind of attention. Some predators are extremely defensive over their prey. The scent from these items can also give predators the wrong signal that you are in fact the pray they have been looking for.
4. Avoid Scouting an Area Ahead of time During the Hunting Season
If you go out to scout your area unprepared a few things could go wrong. One, you could get lost and not be prepared to be in the wilderness for an extended period of time. Secondly, you could come across another hunter that isn’t expecting you. So if you do go, be sure you are prepared and wearing the proper attire to signal other hunters you are in the area.
Another reason to avoid scouting to early is that if a deer picks up on your scent, chances are they will disappear for the whole season. For this reason, avoid scouting the hunting area when it is too close to the hunting season. This reduces your chances of spooking the deer ahead of time.
5. Learn How to Haze and Don’t Run
Never turn you back on a predator if they are interested in you. This will immediately trigger their hunting instincts and cause them to run after you. There aren’t too many predators that a human is capable of outrunning for long. Learn how to haze by making lots of noise to scare the animal off if possible. Carry bear spray other items depending on the territory you are hunting in that may come in handy. Last resort, be prepared to defend yourself with your weapon, while harming animals is a terrible thing, its always better than sacrificing your own life.
Bonus Hunting Tips to Stay Safe For Newbies
Even with the tips provided above, there is still a possibility that a newbie hunter might yet have some questions. These are some of the question’s new hunters ask.
What Happens When I Hear a Sound That Might Be an Animal?
Do not shoot at sounds. There are high chances that it might be another hunter. Only shoot at an animal you have seen with your own eyes.
What Is the Best Time of Day To Hunt?
The best time to hunt is early mornings just after sunrise and the late afternoon just before sunset. This is when animals like deer are typically more active and looking for food. Confirm with local authorities about times that you are allowed to hunt. Always avoid the night time.
What Is the Best Time of the Season To Hunt Deer?
The best time in the season to hunt deer is at the beginning before the deer get spooked or during the rut or mating season. Every locality will have their own specific rules that they enforce, be sure to follow them closely to avoid fines or even jail time.
Even though this guideline has tried to be extensive, I have not covered everything or gotten even close to it. There is so much to say about being safe when deer hunting. The topic is inexhaustible. Ensure you do extensive research before you head out. It would help to remember that you will never know enough no matter how much research you do. Getting out in the field and hunting with an experienced hunter is the best way to perfect your craft.