Hunting is a test of a person’s will to overcome the elements, knowledge to understand animals, and top-notch tracking skills to bag the trophy.
Not only that, but hunting is a skill that has been around for as long as humans have. It’s not only a pastime or a hobby, it’s a valuable skill that can literally save a person’s life.
But hunting isn’t all rainbows and daisies.
Though modern life has made our lives much easier to live, hunting is still quite difficult. Not only is there the danger of unpredictable animals, but people hunting prove to be dangerous as well. There are hunting incidents that lead to major mishaps that happen while trying to get a trophy buck or return to your family with a big dinner.
The 4 main causes of hunting incidents are:
- Hunter Judgement Mistakes
- Safety Rule Violation
- Lack of Control and Practice
- Mechanical Failure
Let’s dig into these and identify how to avoid these potentially deadly incidents.
1. Hunter Judgement Mistakes
Hunting incidents are always tragic, but the worst part is when they are completely preventable. The downside is that when you do move, another hunter may mistake you for their intended target. This leads to friendly fire. This is why it’s so advisable to wear bright orange when hunting to easily identify yourself and avoid being mistaken as a target.
Another judgment mistake would be not clearing the area when taking aim at your game. It’s always advisable to check the foreground and background of the target. Your bullet may not stop after hitting the target, continuing through your target and striking an intended target as well. It should also be noted that the bullets may ricochet off the bone of your target giving it an unusual trajectory. The foreground may have someone cross your path without realizing they were doing so.
All of these issues can be overcome simply by following best practices and being mentally present in the moment to avoid the issues.
2. Safety Rule Violation
The most common safety rule violations are pretty simple to overcome. By being aware, you will likely not fall into the major issues. These are relatively simple rules. I’ll list off the most obvious:
- Treat every gun like it’s loaded.
- Never point the gun in an unsafe direction.
- Maintain proper procedure when crossing boundaries such as difficult terrain, fences, or various other obstacles.
If you stay vigilant of how you’re handling your gun, then you will protect yourself from any sort of misfire. Maintaining proper procedures for dealing with terrain or any other obstacle, will help reduce the likelihood of physical injury. If you twist an ankle out in the field, it is much more difficult to deal with than if you do it at home.
On top of that, if there is an incident resulting in some sort of physical injury or mental distress, you will have to be more conscientious about the safety rules to avoid compounding difficulties.
3. Lack of Control and Practice
Remember that most issues can be eliminated simply by being prepared. The lack of control and practice might be the most obvious of these.
How do you get better at controlling your gun? You practice. How do you practice? Go to the gun range. Watch videos for drills you can do at home. Do said drills. Go out with more experience hunters and emulate their techniques to better yourself.
This is quite simple really. If you don’t have control, then you might fire a shot and accidentally fire off a second without being aware of the surroundings. So, be vigilant and practice.
4. Mechanical Failure
This is mildly preventable. Nobody can really know when their gun will fail. However, there are steps you can take to slow the process of metal fatigue.
The top tip is to take good care of your gun. Keep it cleaned and properly oiled for the greatest longevity. Another potentially helpful thing is to buy quality products. Unfortunately, this isn’t cheap. Buying quality guns and ammunition that come from reputable brands.
There’s a saying, “buy once, cry once.” It means if you put up the money at the beginning, you only are going to be sad about spending money that first time. Just like with most products, this holds true with guns.
So, to avoid mechanical issues, buy quality gear and then take care of it. This will guarantee the longevity and quality of the gun.
Researched and written by the American Gun Facts team. We are a group of Americans dedicated to providing factual information on firearms and fighting back against attempts to weaken or discard the Second Amendment. We write on topics ranging from firearm statistics, news, reviews, and more! AGF has been featured in the New York Times, NBC, MSN, Time, & many other publications.