Hunting safety begins with personal responsibility

Ian Lindquist (left) hunts for his first deer with the help of his parents Jason and Anna.

With many hunting seasons underway, and about 400,000 hunters set to converge on the state’s fields and woods for the Nov. 5 firearms deer opener, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters there’s no such thing as a successful hunt if it isn’t safe.

Done right, hunting is an exceptionally safe activity that brings families and friends together to create life-long memories, and it’s up to every hunter to ensure that trend continues. Three of the main ways to ensure a safe hunt are to:

·Practice climbing into and out of tree stands before the season starts.

·Brush up on the key tenets of safe firearms handling before hitting the field.

·Wear blaze clothing to ensure visibility to other hunters.

“There’s a lot at stake every time hunters head into the field,” said Col. Rodmen Smith, director of the DNR Enforcement Division. “Safe hunts don’t just happen by chance — they happen when hunters make keeping themselves and others safe the top priority.”

Accidents involving tree stands are the leading cause of injury among hunters. According to national data, as many as one in three hunters who hunt from an elevated stand will fall and sustain a serious injury. The number of hunting-related firearms fatalities has dropped significantly over the past 60 years — largely due to safety training requirements for young and new hunters — but even one fatality is too many.

These additional safety tips can also help ensure a safe hunting season for everyone:

Inspect tree stand safety harnesses thoroughly and use them when in the stand and when climbing in and out.

Maintain three points of contact with the steps or ladder at all times.

·Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded.

·Always control the muzzle.

·Be sure of the target and what’s beyond it.

·Only put your finger on the trigger when ready to shoot.

For more information about blaze clothing requirements, see page 33 of the 2022 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations booklet (mndnr.gov/Regulations/Hunting).

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