Hunting safety is always a top priority regardless of game, ammo or method. In Alabama, bow season is open now and gun season opens in mid-November for deer.
Marisa Lee Futral, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources hunter education coordinator, says follow key guidelines for a safe hunting experience.
Ten Commandments of Firearm Safety
- Treat every firearm with the same respect as a loaded firearm. If you become careless with unloaded guns, you will soon become careless with loaded guns.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
- Identify your target and what is behind it before you shoot. Never shoot at movement. Make sure you know what is behind your target before you shoot.
- Be sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions. Only have ammunition of the proper size for the firearm you are carrying.
- Unload firearms when not in use. Leave the action open. Firearms should be carried unloaded and in a case to and from the shooting or hunting area.
- Never point a firearm at anything you do not wish to destroy.
- Never climb a fence or tree or jump a ditch with a loaded firearm. Always unload the firearm before you cross a ditch, and never pull a firearm towards you by the muzzle. Never lean a firearm against a tree, fence, wall or automobile.
- Never shoot a bullet at a flat, hard surface or at water. Bullets can ricochet at odd angles.
- Store firearms and ammunition separately. Keep them beyond the reach of children and inexperienced adults.
- Never mix gunpowder with alcohol or drugs. No one should drink alcoholic beverages or take drugs while hunting. Never go hunting with anyone that does.
Main Causes of Accidents while Hunting
Bence Carter, an Alabama Extension regional forestry and wildlife agent identified the three main causes of accidents while hunting.
- Tree stand accidents
- Failing to properly identify a target
- Self-inflicted accidents
“When using tree stands, hunters should wear a harness,” said Carter. They should also use something to pull up their bow or gun, such as a rope.” Alabama regulations now require all hunters utilizing a treestand on wildlife management areas to wear a full body harness.
Another tip for hunter safety is properly identifying yourself.
“Wearing blaze orange identifies that you are a hunter,” he said. “This is the most effective way to identify yourself to other hunters.”
Alabama hunting laws require deer hunters personsto wear an outer garment above the waist with a minimum of 144 square inches of hunter orange or either a full-size hunter orange hat or cap.
Hunters are not required to wear hunter orange when hunting from a stand elevated 12 feet or more from the ground, when hunting in an enclosed box stand, when traveling in an enclosed vehicle, or when traveling on foot no more than 20 feet directly between an operating enclosed vehicle and a stand where the hunter is exempt from the hunter orange requirement.
A small logo and/or printing is permitted on the front of hunter orange caps; otherwise, hunter orange must be of solid color and visible from any angle. Only hunter orange, commonly called blaze orange, is legal.
To prevent injuries, hunters should always put safety first. Following these guidelines will ensure a safe and successful hunting season.