A recent study conducted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation analyzed data regarding sports participation and injuries. The data from the study concluded that of the 29 activities analyzed, hunting with a firearm ranked the third safest activity a person could participate in. This is ahead of the traditional American past times like baseball, football, and fishing. Out of 100 people to participate in a hunting activity, less than ten percent of them incur some type of injury. While the data gives hunting a safe activity rating, there are things you can do to help promote safe hunting and outdoor practices.
Use hearing protection- Using some form of hearing protection is one of the most important things you can do to reduce injury. Hearing protection comes in all shapes and size, so taking the time to find a set that is comfortable and effective is absolutely key. Decide if you want to use an in-ear or over-the-ear style of hearing protection. Another important aspect of hearing protection is the noise reduction rating (NRR). The higher the NRR is, the better protected your hearing is.
Use eye protection- Your sense of sight is one of the most important tools you will use as an outdoorsman. Make sure that the vision protection you use while hunting has at least a Z87.1 certification. The Z87.1 is a rating from the standards board, and has to do with the impact resistance of the lenses.
Wear safety colors- The use of safety colors like blaze orange while out in the field will set you apart from surroundings and make sure you are visible to other outdoorsmen. In most states it’s a law that hunting parties must wear a certain amount of safety orange. In Minnesota, blaze orange must be worn while hunting small game and deer. The amount of safety orange worn depends on when, where, and what you are hunting.
Be safe with your firearm- Taking necessary precautions while handling your firearm will help maintain safety for you and your group. Always treat a firearm as if it is loaded. Keep control of the firearm by keeping it pointed away from other people and in a safe direction. Always be aware of what you are aiming your firearm at and what is beyond.
Partner up- Hunting with a partner or two is a good idea. Having someone nearby in case of an accident can be the difference between life and death. If you absolutely must go out into the field alone, let other people know where and when you will be gone. While hunting is an extremely safe activity, being prepared can’t hurt.
Compared to hunting, Injuries occur much more frequent in baseball, soccer, skateboarding, and even volleyball! While hunting can be extremely safe, taking the right precautions will ensure your safety. Wearing the proper protective gear will keep you and outdoorsmen everywhere safe and sound.