Well, it is that time of year that so many of us wait for with such great anticipation and expectation. Hunting season is upon us again and hopefully we have prepared and are ready to go. However, let’s take a second and review a few very important items that are overshadowed by thoughts of the air full of flying birds and big velvet racks.
All of us have families at home that need and hope we return safely. So many times we are so enthralled with the spirit of the hunt that we overlook items that can have so many dire ramifications. In addition, we sometimes forget that this is supposed to be fun and not a competition. Let’s discuss a few of these issues:
- Tree stand safety accounts for more accidents and fatalities than any other portion of the outdoor hunting community. Don’t assume those straps you put on that ladder stand or hang-on two years ago are still good. Replace them.
- 75% of serious tree stand falls occur while climbing up or down, now while actually setting in the stand. Most folks use safety harnesses and hook them up when they set in the stand. I would urge all of you to invest $35 in the safety lines with the Prussic knots that allow you to be safe from the time you leave the ground until you step off the last rung.
- Check your firearms from last season……deer hunters, bird hunters, etc. Clean them and make sure they are in good working order. A faulty safety or trigger can result in serious injury or death.
- Let someone know where you are hunting if you are going by yourself. Give them an approximate home arrival time. Always carry a cellphone on you so that a GPS coordinate can be used to locate you in case of an accident.
- Dress appropriately and carry extra. Many of those who waterfowl hunt have seen the day start at 40 degrees and end at -10. Carry a spare set of clothes, a blanket, etc, in a waterproof bag in your duck boat. Anyone that has never slipped while putting out decoys or retrieving a bird has not duck hunted very long. Hypothermia can set it in far less time than you can get in the boat and get back to the dock. I always have a fire making kit as well and a propane heater.
- Nobody should venture afield without a small first aid kit, and a small survival kit. A space blanket and a lighter can make all the difference in the world if you have to spend the night out unexpectedly.
- Make sure your vehicle is ready for bad weather……getting stuck in the back country in freezing temps is not fun at all.
- Sharpen your knives and keep them that way. More bad cuts are caused by dull knives and people forcing them to cut.
- Pay attention to your other loved one’s…your dogs. Heat or extreme cold can be deadly on our 4 legged friends. A warm truck and fresh water is little enough to provide them for how hard they work for us. Check their pads and coats and make sure their shots are all up to date.
- Just remember safety first……….everyone should go home at night!
The next item is to remember to get the kids out and let them enjoy. Remember to them it is just fun and don’t put pressure on them to kill the biggest buck or the most birds. Let them ask 100 questions if they want and never appear to be frustrated with them. Most of all, when they get tired and want to leave, pack up and go. If you force them to stay out, sit in the rain or cold, the next time you ask them to go, that last trip will be what is on their mind. Let them go home each time with a pleasant thought about their day afield.
That’s all for this version of the President’s message. I wish everyone a great, and most of all, a safe season afield. We live in a great state with great resources. Invite a friend along who maybe has never had the opportunity to go afield and hunt or fish. Introduce him to the outdoors and the League of Kentucky Sportsmen and you will have a friend for life.
Gotta go……….I have a tree stand calling my name……….