Hunting safety tips for beginners and experts


Bow season in Ohio is in full swing, and youth gun season for white-tailed deer takes place Nov. 23 and 24. With upcoming dates for gun and muzzleloader season for deer, it’s best to take safety reminders into consideration before heading out to hunt.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife’s Hunter Education-Home Study Manual outlines the importance of hunter safety for beginners, but it’s a crucial reminder for seasoned hunters, too.

Wear hunter orange

During gun season, gun weekend, youth gun and muzzleloader seasons, law states that you must wear a hunter orange vest, coat, jacket or coveralls. If you’re bow hunting during any of these seasons, you must also wear hunter orange.

Practice proper gun handling

Recognize the responsibility involved in holding and using a firearm. You should only point the muzzle of your gun in a safe direction. Also, if you don’t want to shoot something, don’t aim at it. Unload your gun when it’s not in use.

Your gun should only be loaded when you’re aiming to shoot. Put your gun’s safety on and  unload your firearm before climbing, jumping or running. Keep your gun’s safety on until you’re ready to shoot, and keep your finger off of the trigger.

Be certain of what you’re aiming at before you fire. Pay attention to what’s beyond the target. Shots are more likely to ricochet off of hard or flat surfaces, like water.

These simple actions could prevent a tragic accident for both novice and experienced hunters.

Bow safety

Like a gun, only point an arrow in a safe direction. If you don’t want to shoot it, don’t aim at it.

Don’t draw an arrow until you’re ready to shoot. Be sure of your target and what is beyond your target.

Always wear an arm guard when using a bow, as well as finger tabs or shooting gloves. Whether you’re using a longbow, compound bow or crossbow, always carry your arrows in a quiver.

Check out your arrows before you use them. If any are bent, cracked or warped, don’t use them. Make sure bowstrings aren’t worn or frayed. If they are, replace them.

Be smart

It’s a good idea to tell someone where you are going to be hunting and when you think you will return. Take your cell phone with you. You can keep it turned on, but in vibrate or silent mode. That way, if you get lost, the signals emitted from your phone will help rescuers locate you.

Don’t drink or use drugs before or during hunting. You need a clear mind and full control of your body when using a firearm or bow.

Tree stands

According to a survey conducted by Deer and Deer Hunting Magazine, one in three hunters will fall from a tree stand during their hunting experience.

This video from the Ohio Division of Wildlife reviews basic tree stand safety:

Know the laws regarding tree stands. Tree stands cannot be used on public hunting grounds, and can only be used on private property with the landowner’s permission.

For more information on hunting regulations, view Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Hunting and Trapping Regulations 2014-2015.


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