2017-11-09 / Editorial

Home from the hunt – Safe, sound and successful we hope

Markey Township Firefighter
By Ken Elmore

Well, the unofficial holiday that is known to all as “opening day” is right around the corner. As the excitement builds we would like to share a few safety tips so you make it out of the great north woods without incident.

We’ve had a chance to talk with a number of avid hunters about what they think are tips that will help avoid accidents and injuries out in the field. Because of time, terrain and distances, even minor accidents can be far more impactful back in the hunting grounds.

There’s a lot to safe hunting, so let’s start with a few basics. Even before the hunt begins, make sure you check and recheck your equipment making sure it’s in good condition. Plan your outing well and make sure someone else knows where, when and for how long you plan to be gone.

Be sure your cell phone is fully charged, as the locator or GPS function could save a life. Be as up-to-date on the weather conditions in your area as you can be.

We all know that this time of year we are apt to get anything, so the predominate advice is to dress in layers with plenty of protection. Think of what you would need should you be stuck in the wilderness. Remember that hypothermia (severe cooling of the body) can be fatal, so don’t leave that extra layer behind thinking you can “tough it out” should something happen.

Always carry a few fire starting items in your pocket as an extra precaution.

Once you get to your location, try not to alter your planned hunting spot drastically, as it will be the first spot we will come looking for you should the need arise. Remember, if we can’t find you electronically, all we have to go on is where you told someone you would be. A lot of hunters mark the trail to their hunt area with small bright colored markers so they can easily find their way. Use a few more of them so if rescuers need to help you, they can follow in unfamiliar territory.

If for some reason you do get lost out there, stay put. It’s probably one of the hardest things to do, but it is far easier for us to find you if you do not wander around trying to find your way. Think of it in hunting terms, a moving target is a more difficult one.

When it comes to your firearm, the jury is out on whether to load before you head out or when you get to your spot. No right or wrong answer, just personal preference. Regardless of loaded or not, all the hunters we spoke with said that it is imperative that while carrying a weapon the safety should be on and the muzzle must be pointed in a direction well away from any other hunters or your own body. Most advised it be pointed directly at the ground.

Finally, but very important, consider your own health condition. Anyone who’s been out there knows hunting can be extremely strenuous on the body and heart. Well, there you have it.

Certainly not everything, but it’s a start. One final reminder as you head out. Ain’t it a great country? Where else can folks get out and celebrate the bounty of this great land and put food on their table by hunting their own? So get going hunters! Follow the guidelines and the safe practices to ensure a good outing. As for me, my hunting now consists of rummaging through the fridge looking for something that isn’t fuzzy and green. Good luck folks!

To ask a question in this forum, send an email to stelmoresfire@charter.net.

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