Being armed as a hunter, what could be more normal? The weapon is for us an everyday object, sometimes a work of art. And as far back as our memories, it was part of our daily life.
However, the perception that our contemporaries have of weapons has changed a lot in recent decades. The weapon (even for hunting) is not an insignificant object and can sometimes be a source of concern for other users of nature.
In this guide, we will learn 9 essential tips for staying safe while hunting.
Right to Use Arms
If we are the only ones to be able to use weapons in a natural environment, it is not a privilege but a right formerly transmitted from generation to generation, today acquired with the examination of the license to hunt.
This right to use hunting weapons gives us responsibilities and duties, foremost among which is the duty of security.
Any activity, a fortiori leisure in nature, involves risks and entails dangers, and hunting is no exception to the rule. This is why hunters have for many years developed a real culture of safety.
If the actions of the federations combined with individual awareness have halved the number of accidents in 10 years, our efforts must not stop there and this is one of the essential points of the new hunting law.
New Hunting Law: Safety is a Priority
In a logic of responsibility, the law devotes several articles to safety. All the federations already carry out numerous training sessions for hunters and/or hunt organizers. These training courses will be generalized by the establishment of a compulsory refresher course every 10 years.
It will not be an exam but training to resume safety gestures, recall accident situations and behaviors to adopt when meeting a non-hunter nature user, the adaptation of the weapon to hunted game, etc.
All departmental hunting management plans already have a safety component adapted to the context of the biotope and local hunting methods.
In addition to this training, in order to reinforce and standardize certain rules, many hunters hold national permits. It is planned during collective big game hunting actions:
- The generalization of the wearing of the fluorescent vest,
- Installation of temporary signage.
- Within each FDC, a departmental hunting safety commission will also be set up, made up of members of the Federation’s board of directors.
This commission will make it possible to ask the Prefect to retain or suspend the hunting license of a person who has committed a serious material incident that could endanger the life of others, or in the event of an accident resulting in the death of a person.
A person involuntarily caused serious harm to the physical integrity of a person during a hunting or destruction action. And this, without waiting for the decision of a judgment which will take several months to suspend the license of a clearly dangerous hunter.
2 Times Fewer Accidents in 10 Years!
Our modern societies take care to reduce the risk of accidents as much as possible and systematically look for those responsible.
For hunting, this development has resulted in the practical examination of the hunting license, safety awareness campaigns, the establishment of rules and codes, as well as in a very detailed analysis of hunting accidents. This is the result of hunters’ safety awareness, developed by the Hunters’ Federations.
9 Tips for Staying Safe While Hunting
The number of accidents is decreasing. That’s good, but one accident will always be one too many. Even if zero risk does not exist, how can the tragedies be further reduced, to the ultimate threshold of fatality?
1. Consider the environment
Behind the hedge, cornfield and corner of the wood, there may be a person totally or partially hidden from the sight of the shooter. It is obvious that one shoots only toward a clearly identified game, not a simple form.
Taking the environment into account also quite simply means not being blinded by the game. And it seems obvious, not shooting game in the direction of houses and roads.
2. Game birds: increased caution
Some games take pleasure in offering you the best opportunities… by flying less than 2 meters high, for horizontal shots. It’s the partridge that goes in your boots or in the panties in the beets. It’s the pheasant that takes off from a hedge and does not want to climb, the woodcock picking mischievously between the stalks.
In the first case, shooting is possible because the plain is an open environment, offering good visibility. In other cases, if we take into account the fact that someone (not necessarily in fluorescent) can be hidden by the screen of vegetation, it is better to abstain.
We are here in the typical circumstances where the hunter will have to take particular account of the environment, not to allow himself to be blinded by the game nor to shoot towards dwellings or places open to the public. A missed opportunity can reappear; an accident marks perpetrators and victims forever!
3. Long live the fluorescent!
The best way to increase hunting safety is not to cause accidents! It’s active safety. But we can fear the second of inattention from a hunter who does not take the environment into account and prevent accidents by wearing clothes that will make us visible from afar even though a screen of vegetation.
This is passive security. The Fluo for the hunter is sometimes heartbreaking. Indeed, we all particularly liked a hat of a noble fabric faded by the rains, an old jacket in autumn colors worn by brambles, giving us the feeling of blending into nature… And here we have decked out in clothes garish industrialists.
Hard… And yet, wearing fluorescent clothing during group hunts is a guarantee of safety! Although not quantifiable.
4. We don’t shoot within 30°
Half of the hunting accidents occur during big game hunting! Many of these accidents could be avoided by respecting a basic rule: that of 30°. The wood-bellied hunter should not shoot in the stalk – at least. It is generally stated during the instructions – but only when the game has jumped the alley, beyond an angle of 30° which guarantees the safety of the neighbors.
To materialize an angle of 30° to the right, the hunter takes 5 steps to the right then 3 steps perpendicularly, and the same thing on the left side. At the end of the third step, he plants a marker (stick or other).
Game leaving the tracked enclosure can only be shouldered and shot after crossing the 30° angle. In the event of an accident, the responsibility of the hunter who fired at an angle of 30° is systematically engaged! Sometimes the beam is very narrow or the wood very dirty, making shooting almost impossible. In this case, it is better to abstain!
“Half of the hunting accidents occur during big game hunting! Many of these accidents could be avoided by respecting a basic rule: that of 30°”.
Any act of hunting, as soon as it is practiced by more than one person, necessarily includes a person in charge. In beats and in particular with big games, this person in charge must clearly state, to all participants, the safety and shooting instructions. These instructions are given during a ritual preceding the hunt, that of the ring, to which all participants, hunters, and trackers are invited.
The verbal instructions are now more and more often doubled by written instructions, given to the hunter who acknowledges having read them and undertakes to respect them by signing the beat register.
In the event of an accident, the responsibility of the person in charge of the hunt who did not give the instructions is systematically engaged. In the circle, each hunter listens in silence!
6. Bring down wild boar fever
Since the 1980s, it has multiplied but wild boar fever remains strong and sometimes leads hunters to lose their temper and commit imprudence. The figures are eloquent: 69% of accidents in big game hunting action concern wild boar, whereas it represents only 49% of the takings.
To establish a comparison, roe deer represent 46% of samples, for 25% of accidents. This is all the more abnormal as for the boar, lower on legs than the roe deer, the shots are more “Fichants” and should therefore cause fewer accidents yet no boar, even the one in your life, deserves only you are endangering that of others!
- 69% of large game hunting accidents involve wild boar
- 25% of big game hunting accidents involve roe deer
Learn more: 12 Deer Hunting Tips with a Crossbow
7. Should we be wary of semi-automatic weapons?
Although very widespread, they are sometimes frowned upon because they do not “break”, and the temptation is great among some hunting officials to banish them. If we must keep in mind that it is not the weapon that is dangerous but the use that is made of it, it must be recognized that they are more suitable for hunting at the post alone than to active hunts in groups.
The use of a semi-automatic weapon in a group must result in increased precautions: always directed towards the sky and, during displacements, breech ostensibly behind, open, and stuck by a casing across.
8. Over time, attention slackens
Beware of young hunters: they lack experience and are more dangerous than older ones! This peremptory assertion, we have all heard it, and yet. In fact, it is quite the opposite!
There are two main reasons for this: the youngest hunters passed the license with a practical test; the majority of those over 52 have not passed any test since the exam was introduced in 1976.
Then, with practice, you certainly acquire wisdom but also habits and automatisms. You have more self-confidence and we sometimes forget the basic rules. Whether hunting or driving, experience does not allow negligence. You must never relax your attention, especially after many permits!
“Whether hunting or driving, experience does not allow negligence.”
9. Report your hunts
The other users of nature, more and more numerous, are not necessarily informed of hunting days. To prevent them, don’t hesitate to put up signs on the paths crossing the hunted areas with a message such as “Today, we are hunting: together, let’s be vigilant”. They must be put on the morning of the hunt and removed at the end of the hunt.
You can also display the hunt days calendar. For large beds, it’s easy. For small hunts, it is less obvious.
Approximately one-third of the accidents that occur while hunting are due to health problems. The average age of hunters is relatively high, more than in other sports, and hunting is an activity that requires moderate to intense long-term physical effort.
The hunter must keep himself in good physical shape avoiding a sedentary lifestyle and practicing some kind of physical activity every day and not just on the weekend.
Do you have questions regarding security and safety? Do not hesitate to contact us or leave a comment in the section below.