A day in the country hunting or shooting is a glorious day out, but accidents and misadventure happen. Here are a few pointers to help you avoid danger, disappointment, and discomfort.
Carry A First Aid Kit
Put together your own first aid pack. Anti-septic cream, gauze, sticking plasters, iodine, rubbing alcohol, scissors, and a mild analgesic such as paracetamol should generally suffice. Anti-inflammatories, anti-histamines, and insect repellant may be required too, according to the season. You know whether you have allergies; if you do, take the appropriate medication with you.
Dress For The Occasion
You want to be comfortable and you want to be seen. Game doesn’t recognise colour, so forget camouflage – other hunters need to see you. You want the best of your shooting days, so purchase high quality shooting clothing. Natural fabrics allow your skin to breathe, so wool, tweed, flannel, twill, moleskin, and linen are good bases for your outfit. However, a waistcoat or vest with a fluorescent colour such as lime or flame will prevent you being someone else’s unwitting prey.
TACT Is Everything Where Guns Are Concerned
Gun safety, whether you are using a shotgun or a rifle is vital. TACT is its essential mnemonic:
- Target – Be sure you are aiming at what you want to hit, and be aware of what is around and behind it.
- Assume your gun is loaded – Treat each and every firearm you carry as though it is loaded.
- Control your muzzle – Carry your gun and see to it that its muzzle is pointed in the safe direction; opinions vary, but, carrying it with the muzzle directly upwards makes more sense than downwards (if you accidentally block the muzzle with mud, you will have a nasty shock when you shoot).
- Trigger – To be safe, keep your finger off of the trigger and outside the trigger guard until you are certain of your shot. Many experienced hunters see this as an element of being a better shot as it is natural to point your finger at what you want to hit.
Wear Ear Protection
At close quarters, a rifle is much louder than you imagine. Louder than a jet plane’s engine. The damage this can do to your eardrums is immense, and it doesn’t heal itself. This is the same no matter how many shots you take. Quality ear protection is an absolute must when you are hunting or shooting.
Wear Eye Protection
Shot or bullets can throw up splinters, and recoil can cause the most experienced hunter’s gun to buck unexpectedly. These hazards occur far quicker than the eyes can blink. So, protect your eyes. Toughened lenses are advisable, and goggles are available which can fit comfortably over prescription spectacles.
Strap Up On Trees
The elevation a natural feature like a tree or crag gives you a great advantage over game. However, precarious positions have their literal downfalls. A safety harness is a wise measure to take if you intend to patiently wait at a height. Quality safety harnesses can be light and still very strong, check the weight the maker guarantees it will bear before you purchase it though, you wouldn’t want to find out the hard way, would you?
You don’t like the idea of other people drinking and driving, so don’t drink and shoot. One beer can slow your reaction time and cloud your judgment, so stay sober. You will shoot more accurately, and won’t put yourself or others at risk.
Follow the tips we’ve shared and rest assured that you will be safe while you are on a shooting or hunting trip!