Follow Basic Firearm Safety when Hunting
There are many things to keep in mind regarding safety when hunting. Carrying a firearm in the field has its own dangers which one should practice faithfully. As soon as you lay your hands on a firearm you should treat it as if it were loaded, make sure the safety is on, keep it pointed in a safe direction, keep your finger OFF the trigger at all times, unless you are about to shoot, always know your target and more importantly what is behind it.
It is our duty as hunters to be aware of our surroundings. As public land hunters there is always a chance that other hunters are in the field hunting near you. You are responsible for where your bullet or arrow travels! Where will your bullet/arrow travel if you miss your target? Is your target on the skyline, and if so what’s behind where you can’t see? Are you hunting near livestock? If you don’t have a clear, ethical shot on the animal, then don’t take the shot. It’s that simple.
Be Prepared for Predators when Hunting
Everytime we enter the field, we take a risk of being in danger, especially if there are predators in the area. For example: If you stumble upon a mother moose, or momma bear and they have their young with them, they may charge you if they don’t hear you coming.
Other predators may include grizzly bears, mountain lions, wolves, snakes, or even scorpions. Know which predators are in the area you plan to hunt before entering the field, so you can properly prepare yourself for a possible encounter. Knowing what you may encounter allows you to make a plan in case you do encounter one, along with knowing the type of terrain they use so you can avoid that area, or be more alert when traveling through.
Knowing some basic first aid can also be beneficial in the chance you get bit by a snake or stung by a scorpion, fall down, cut or burn yourself.
Lock Up Your Valuables when Hunting
Another safety consideration is where you are parking your vehicle or potentially camping. Park in a safe and appropriate place. You should always lock up your things and never leave anything valuable in plain sight for someone passing by to see. If you have a firearm that will not be with you, it is your responsibility to make sure that it is secured and not able to get into the hands of someone other than you.
Recently while hunting in Southern Arizona I experienced illegal immigrants traveling through. Illegal immigrants and/or cartel/smugglers have been crossing the Mexico border into the US for sometime now. The state of Arizona Game and Fish Commission do warn that when hunting in the southern part of the state, you may see trash left behind from them traveling through, or even encounter them while out hunting. For the most part they will leave you alone as they do not want to get caught, but still this is another reason to stay aware of your surroundings. These immigrants will generally travel at night, and if you leave water out in camp they will most likely take it.