In my home state of Texas, hundreds of thousands of hunters will take to the field in the morning for the opening of the general whitetail deer season.
That includes yours truly who is excited about the prospect of killing a whitetail or feral hog for the freezer. Venison has nearly sacred status in the Moore household.
Since 2018 I have been writing extensively on what I call Deep Woods Dangers, which are human threats in the great outdoors. The number one in my opinion is encountering unsafe hunters.
Most hunters are smart, ethical and sober-minded but annually upwards of 1,000 hunters are shot in incidents in the United States and Canada annually with around 75 of those fatal. This is according to the International Hunter Education Association.
Considering there are millions of hunters in the woods those numbers are low but in my opinion one is too many, much less 1,000.
The number one thing you can do to protect yourself is to wear blaze orange. It is required on most public land but it is not required for example in Texas on private land. Wear it anyway.
I know it’s not fashionable and the boys at deer camp might give you grief, but deal with it.
Blaze orange shines through the woods like a beacon and someone wearing a full jacket and cap is easily seen. The chances of someone shooting you and think you’re deer or some other game go down dramatically when wearing blaze orange.
I hunt on a private lease and still feel the need to wear orange.
After a close call where the man next to me in a duck blind was hit with a pellet while duck hunting under the eye, I made a commitment to take hunting safety even more seriously.
He was shot by a young person in another blind not being careful and thankfully did not loose his eye. That’s a different issue than a situation where hunter orange is applicable but it made me think.
If you are shot by a deer rifle you could lose your life. Wearing orange doesn’t guarantee safety but it greatly reduces your odds of becoming a statistic.
Something else to keep in mind (especially on public land) is to keep a cool head. If someone has camped out at the spot you found and beat you there or tries to dispute an area with you let them have it before things get heated.
Tempers flare and there is no hunting location worth losing a life.
Enjoy the hunt. Only take ethical shots and share the venison with the less fortunate.
There are many in our communities these days.