According to the National Safety Council, hunting is a safe activity. Hunting results in fewer injuries per 100,000 participants than do many sports, including cycling, bowling, golf and tennis. By law, Missouri requires a hunting education course for any hunter born on or after Jan. 1, 1967. Since hunting education became mandatory in 1987, hunting accidents and deaths have decreased by more than 70 percent.
For specific hunting dates each year, please visit http://mdc.mo.gov/seasons.
- Wear hunter orange when in the woods. Use hunter orange to identify your hunting location.
- Dress defensively. Never wear red, white, blue or black while hunting turkey.
- Know the effective range of your gun.
- Always identify your target before putting your finger on the trigger.
- Never shoot at sound or movement. Assume it is another hunter until you can clearly see the animal.
- Stay aware of other hunters.
- Be sure of your target and what lies beyond it.
- Make sure your equipment is in good working condition and your firearm is properly sighted in.
- If you hunt on private land, know where the boundaries, houses, roads, fences and livestock are located on the property.
- Report observed violations of the law to a conservation agent or local sheriff.
- Know and obey all wildlife laws and gun safety.
- When using a camouflage blind, other hunters cannot see you even if you are wearing hunter orange. Tie hunter orange on each side of the blind so it can be seen from all sides.
- If you are an inexperienced hunter, seek out experienced hunters that you can learn from.
- If you are involved in a firearms-related hunting incident, identify yourself and render assistance. Failure to do so is a Class A misdemeanor.
Safety tips for tree stands
Tree stands offer a better vantage point, a larger field of view and an earlier view of game than hunting on the ground. However, tree stands also are a contributing factor to many accidents during deer hunting season.
- Practice with your stand at ground level, gradually going higher. Several Conservation Department shooting ranges and outdoor education centers have practice poles for free public use.
- Use proper procedures for securing the stand to a tree.
- Read the warnings and instructions from the stand manufacturer before each season.
- Use only stands meeting the standards of the Treestand Manufacturers Association (TMA) rated for your weight and all your equipment you wear or have with you on the stand.
- Always use a safety harness that meets TMA standards and is rated for your weight and any gear you wear.
- Attach your safety harness to the tree from when you leave the ground, throughout the hunt and when you descend to the ground.
- Always position yourself so that you step down onto your tree stand to test its stability.
- Never climb into a tree with a loaded gun or arrow ready to shoot.
- Always use a haul line to raise or lower your gear, including unloaded firearms, bows and arrows.
Sources: Missouri Department of Conservation: http://mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping, National Safety Council: http://www.nsc.org/