With deer season just around the corner, most hunters already have plans for their first trip of the season. Hunting is a hugely popular sport, with approximately 12.5 million hunters in the United States alone. Whether you hunt on public or private lands, and whether you hunt deer or duck, given its popularity, one thing that is certain is that you are not alone. But combined with nature, these other hunters almost always present a challenge to a safe and successful hunting season. In short, though hunting is a sport, it has certain inherent dangers which require careful attention to avoid. While the issue of gun safety was previously addressed, other unpredictable issues such as other hunters, nature and the land itself are equally important.
Hunters are frequently injured by another mistaking them for animals. Too often, inexperienced hunters will simply fire towards movement or noise. Take precautions to avoid drawing such fire. Wear reflective and bright gear such as a neon hunting vest and cap. Camouflage may mean an animal can’t see you, but the same is true for other hunters. When trying to get someone’s attention, don’t wave your arms around. Again, this can appear to be animal movement. Always draw attention to yourself by calling out to others.
A basic and essential rule is to never hunt where hunting is not permitted. While this may seem like semantics of property rights, at heart, you simply cannot be assured the area is safe for weaponry discharge. Hidden hazards may be nearby, such as private residences or walking trails. Every region has different laws, so to be certain you do not wander into prohibited areas, research area regulations. For instance, in Illinois, purple paint may be used to mark property as “no trespass”. The violation of property rights and laws can cause serious repercussions, both legally and physically.
One of the biggest dangers to hunters is the environment. Particularly for hunters new to an area, the weather of most hunting seasons can catch them by surprise. Never go hunting without knowing the weather forecast. Never assume the weather can’t change unexpectedly, so bring extra gear and heating equipment to adjust accordingly. Always tell people exactly where you are going, and when you will return in case something prevents you from leaving. Carry a cell phone or walkie-talkie with you at all times. Also, never wander into an area you don’t know. Even when familiar to an area, it is extremely easy to get turned around and lost. And don’t overly rely on GPS -- while helpful, they can be out-of-date, and can lose signal or a charge.
One final warning: the number one cause of hunting injuries in Illinois in 2010 was actually falls from hunting stands. To prevent injury, check that the stand and its ladder are secure and in good condition before climbing, and while in the stand, wear a safety harness.
For the dedicated hunter, hunting is both an enjoyable and productive past time. But a good hunter also respects the rights and regulations that help make hunting safe. Proper observance of safety rules and hunting laws usually means a safe environment for all concerned. If you witness others violating these laws, contact the police or game warden to report these violations. Additionally, if you or someone you know are injured through the actions of others, be aware that they may be responsible for the financial cost of your injuries and/or damages. Contact a Chicago personal injury attorney for further assistance.
About the Author: Brooke Haley marketing associate at Millon & Peskin, Chicago workers compensation lawyer that practice in the areas of Civil Litigation, Workers’ Compensation, and Personal Injury. Millon & Peskin is a General Civil Litigation Practice with the goal of representing the interests of injured workers, throughout all applicable Courts within the State of Illinois. For more information, please visit http://www.millonpeskin.com.