Pete Davison: (603) 271-3214
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211
November 10, 2009

Have a Safe and Enjoyable Hunt This Season

CONCORD, N.H. – When you take to the woods this fall, take your hunting and your safety seriously.  No matter how you measure success, every hunter should think and act in a manner that promotes safety as their first priority.

“Hunting is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, make wonderful memories, and bring home a variety of game for the table,” says Pete Davison, Hunter Education Coordinator for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.  “Just remember to use good common sense, wear an article of blaze orange clothing and follow safety rules so you don’t become a danger to yourself or to others.” 

Here are some basic reminders to those heading out into the field:

  • Keep the muzzle of your gun pointed in a safe direction at all times.
  • Never point a gun at anything you do not intend to shoot, and keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
  • Treat every gun as if it were a loaded gun.
  • Wear an article of hunter orange clothing to alert others of your presence.

For hunters climbing into their tree stands:

  • Wear a safety harness (Fall Arrest System) whenever you’re sitting in, climbing into or out of your tree stand.
  • Never carry a gun into your stand.  Unload it, and bring it up using a secure haul line with the muzzle pointed downwards.
  • Inspect your tree stand for wear, defects or damage, every time you use it.

Overall, New Hampshire has a strong record for hunter safety, largely attributable to the state's effective hunter education programs and the increased use of blaze orange clothing. The average number of hunting-related incidents per year has gone down each decade since mandatory hunter education classes became required in the 1960s. The 1960s saw an average of 21.4 incidents per year in New Hampshire. Fewer incidents have occurred each decade since, with an average of 3.1 incidents per year since 2000.  Serious incidents are even rarer – there have been a total of four hunting-related fatalities in the state in the last 15 years.

One dangerous element people sometimes underestimate is the weather, according to Davison.  Avoid potentially deadly hypothermia by paying attention to forecasts and dressing properly.  Bring extra layers of clothing, space blanket, food, water, a first aid kit and fire-starting materials.  Be sure someone knows where you’re going to be, and when you plan to be back.  Use a map and compass to navigate, and never rely only on your cell phone or GPS to find your way out of the woods.

“Hunting is a safe and rewarding activity that youth and families can all enjoy this time of year,” says Davison.  “My advice is to get out there, enjoy yourself, hunt smart and above all, hunt safe!”

Click here for the 10 Commandments of Hunting Safely.

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NH Fish and Game Dept.
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Concord, NH 03301

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