There are an average of 20 hunting accidents in Texas each year, according
to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). While the majority of these are not fatal, hunting accidents can lead to serious or debilitating injury. These accidents are also not exclusive to novice or amateur hunters. Per the TPWD:
- Many shooters involved in hunting accidents have not been drinking.
- Most hunters have plenty of hunting experience.
- Most hunting accidents involve people over the age of 40.
Even experienced hunters can reduce their risk of injury while enjoying their pastime. Observe some simple safety tips from a Dallas personal injury lawyer
before packing up for your next hunt.
Take a Hunter Safety Training Class
The majority of hunting accidents occur with experienced hunters, but the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department also notes that most people who sustain injuries on a hunting trip did not have specific safety training. You can take an online safety course through the TWPD website,
where you’ll learn basics such as what to wear, when to hunt, and how to communicate with others in your party.
Practice Smart Firearm Safety
Controlling your weapon is one of the simplest ways to avoid injury to others. For example:
- Point the muzzle in a safe direction. Never point at anything you don’t intend to shoot, and never use your foot as a resting spot. Leave your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire and keep the safety on when not actively shooting. Treat your firearm or bow as if it’s loaded or nocked and ready to fire, even when it’s not.
- Properly identify your target and surrounding area. Before raising your firearm to take a shot, use binoculars to identify what else is around before using your scope. Never shoot at an animal positioned at the top of a hill or ridge, as there’s no way to identify what’s on the other side.
- Unload your weapons when not in use and store them properly in cases when traveling. Always store ammunition and firearms separately, under lock and key.
Practice Proper Etiquette
Whether you’re shooting on a range or in a field, know your safety zone and stick to it. Be aware of your companion’s position and never swing your gun or bow outside of your safety zone. Encourage your hunting party to wear fluorescent orange, so you and your companions are visible to one another, even under heavy cover or at a great distance.
Never drink while on a hunting trip. Alcohol inhibits your physical and mental functions, slows your reaction time, and puts your entire hunting party in danger. It can also affect your ability to control your emotions, which could lead to dangerous consequences. Save your celebrations for after your hunt.
Wear Proper Protective Gear
If you’re shooting at the range, make sure you’re wearing both ear and eye protection, as exploding shells can cause hearing loss or eye damage from burnt powder or flying debris. When shooting in a field or out on a trip, always wear your safety glasses, but don’t use hearing protection, as you must be aware of your surroundings.
The majority of hunting accidents are preventable. It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice shooter or a seasoned pro, there are still steps you can take to assure your safety. Always wear appropriate safety gear and outline basic rules with your party before leaving on a trip. Treat your firearm as if it’s loaded and ready to shoot at all times, and never drink alcohol or use drugs on a trip. By observing these basic safety tips, you can reduce your risk of injury while hunting and make the experience safer for everyone in your party.