What is on my mind: Hunting safety

quail_hunting_with_dogs

Hunting is a hobby and a dangerous responsibility to be take seriously.


After last week’s article, I have been pondering hunter’s safety quite significantly.

Hunters go out every year during deer season and climb their favorite tree in hopes of bringing home that trophy buck they have dreamed of for years on end.

With the adrenaline and excitement of the hunt to come, some hunters forget what I believe to be the second most important thing about hunting other than weapon safety — their harness.

I have forgotten my harness plenty of times. A majority of those times I knew I was not wearing my harness, but still did not put it on.

I told myself that I would not fall out of my tree stand and that only reckless hunters have such accidents happen to them.

Well, I do not believe Timothy Bowers, the man who died after falling 16 feet out of his tree stand, thought of himself as a reckless hunter.

According to reports from cnn.com, Bowers was an avid outdoorsman. Yet the accident still happened.

Harnesses seem so petty and meaningless, but they save lives.

Things can happen in the woods in a moment’s notice; the least hunters can do is wear their safety harness.

According to wbiw.com, the past couple deer seasons in Indiana — the state in which Bowers lived—has had up to 30 tree stand accidents.

Two of those accidents led to death, not including Bowers’.

However, there is hope on the home front.

Last year, Pennsylvania experienced its first full year without any hunting related deaths, according to outdoorchannel.com. That is the first time since 1915.

It also noted that a majority of deaths and accidents that occur while hunting are related to tree stands.

This is a serious issue and because I am also a hunter; this problem hits home.

One reason I would always choose to not wear my safety harness was because I found it uncomfortable.

For those who do hunt, we all know that being comfortable is important because a hunter could be sitting in the same place for hours on end during a hunt and the last thing we need is an uncomfortable strap around our waists.

That used to be an excuse.

Now, companies make all kinds of harnesses that do not get in the way of your hunt, as well as jeopardize your comfort.

The new harnesses may be pricey, but I believe they are definitely worth the purchase.

I tend to now think of the safety harness issue the same way a lot of people used to think of the seatbelt dilemma — seatbelts are not cool, why wear them?

Yet it does not matter what is cool and what is not cool.

It is about saving lives.

Wearing a seatbelt is going to benefit you if an accident were to occur and so will wearing your harness while hunting.

With more comfortable options and the risk of injury or death, there is no excuse.

That being said, with the 2013 rifle season on the horizon, I would like to wish all hunters the best of luck as well as their safety.

But most importantly, wear your harness.

It could be you that is thankful you wore it this year.

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