Safety first: As hunting season takes full bloom, hunters are reminded to be carefulHunters from all across North Dakota this fall are stepping foot in a field or through a shelterbelt in search of pheasants, deer, moose, elk or bighorn sheep.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
Hunters from all across North Dakota this fall are stepping foot in a field or through a shelterbelt in search of pheasants, deer, moose, elk or bighorn sheep.
The wild animal is on their mind, but equally as important for those hunters is the safety for the group and its members.
“You never know what could happen out in the field,” Dickinson Trinity senior Alex Binstock said. “You always have to wear eye protection, have orange on and know what your surrounding s are.”
With the pheasant season going into full bloom and deer rifle season right around the corners, hunters across the state are reminded of proper safety procedures.
“Be more cautious,” Dickinson hunting safety instructor Larry Thompson said. “Don’t load your firearm until you actually in the field and hunting.”
Thompson has been teaching hunter’s safety courses for more than 20 years. He can’t stress enough the upmost importance of being safe out in the field.
“It’s primary,” he said. “It’s mandatory. It’s survival for you or somebody with you. There’s no pheasant in the world worth somebody’s life, their eye or anything else.”
Binstock said the hunter’s safety courses show younger kids the hazards. The lessons learned in the classroom translate out into the field.
“Hunters safety courses teach the young kids the dangers of hunting,” Binstock said. “It’s not all fun and games. You have to take it seriously.”
What about accidents in the field? Dan Hoenke, the North Dakota Game and Fish southwest game warden supervisor, said nearly all hunting accidents are avoidable.
“Most accidents in hunting are preventable,” he said. “It’s usually a loss of awareness and what the situation is or what’s going on.”
Thompson agrees completely with Hoenke that nearly all accidents can be avoided. Thompson wanted to insure that hunters must wear both an orange hat and vest. In conjunction, the hunters must know where everyone is at in the group.
“Accidents are people problems, but 99.9 percent could be prevented if people would just have a care,” Thompson said.
The main importance for hunters and their groups are to keep a keen awareness at all points in time.
“You should always know what you are shooting at, what’s behind it and where you are located in proximity to people, houses and livestock,” Hoenke said. “There are lots of safety concerns in hunting. You want to stay hydrated, in shape, that you have the proper amount of sleep and that you aren't under the influence of alcohol or drugs while hunting.”