Don Harden’s review on ag recreation hunting safety.
September means the start of hunting season in much of the Southeast, and it’s a good time to brush up on safety when it comes to using bows and firearms. Hunting safety begins with each of us so that ag recreation in all its forms can be enjoyed by everyone. In my last article in Central Florida Ag News, I discussed archery safety—both for ag recreation and hunting—and you can find those tips below for the start of bow hunting season. We’ll also review the four basic rules of firearm safety, which you should know in addition to the further details given in a hunting safety class state law may require prior to getting your hunting licenses or tags.
Archery Safety Tips
Practicing safety on a daily basis is the best way to avoid accidents with any pastime, and archery is no different. Whether you are shooting indoors to practice your archery skills or outdoors to sharpen up your bow-hunting abilities, these rules will serve you well:
- Know what is behind your target line. Whether you are shooting at a bullseye target, a deer target, or a bale of hay, you should always know what is behind your target. You should also know what isn’t behind your target line, and that should be humans, animals, and anything you don’t want filled with holes.
- Keep arrows pointed downrange in a safe direction. This is in case you accidently let an arrow go.
- Keep arrow tips covered when not in use. When walking around with retrieved arrows, cover the pointed tips.
- Never retrieve arrows from targets while others are still shooting. Wait until everyone is done shooting before walking to the targets. Archery competitions utilize whistles to let everyone know it’s safe to retrieve arrows.
Firearm Safety Tips
Safety should be your #1 priority any time you are out hunting, especially with a firearm. Follow these four basic tips, called TABK, offered by the International Hunter Education Association:
T – Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
A – Always point the firearm in a safe direction, such as at the ground. If an unplanned discharge occurs, then no one will be injured because the gun was pointed in a safe direction.
B – Be sure of your target and what is beyond your target. You must know for certain what your target is and know there are not any other hunters, houses, vehicles, or other animals behind your target in case your bullet or shot carries through or passed a target. If an animal is on the horizon, you should not shoot as you cannot be sure of what is behind the target.
K – Keep your finger out of the trigger guard and off the trigger until the moment you are ready to shoot. This can prevent a lot of accidental gun discharges. Also, ensure that branches or other objects do not contact the trigger or trigger guard.
AgAmerica Lending encourages everyone in pursuit of ag recreation this fall to take a hunting safety course and brush up on safety tips. We also wish everyone the best of luck!
Growing up in the Florida cattle and citrus business, Don Harden manages his family ranch of several thousand head of cattle and horses. He has almost 40 years of experience in the real estate business; 15 years of which were spent with a large real estate auction company specializing in agricultural sales.