How to Stay Safe and Healthy When Hunting

Hunting season is fun, as long as you make sure you follow some key safety tips.

First off, be alert at all times when carrying a firearm. Besides keeping your muzzle pointed in a safe direction, keep your finger off the trigger unless you’re ready to shoot. Always treat your firearm as a loaded weapon, since too many people have ended up hurting themselves or others because they “thought it was unloaded.” You don’t want to make that mistake!

Next, when planning to take a shot, you must be able to see what’s both in front of and behind your target. The safe “Zone-of-Fire” is the 45 degree area directly in front of a hunter—anything outside this range cannot be reliably seen and therefore should be considered out of view. Plus, it’s vitally important to know where your hunting partners are at all times, since you don’t want to accidentally shoot them (I am looking at you, Dick Cheney).

Finally, it’s important to take good care of your ears during hunting season. Did you know that the average range of a gunshot is 140-190 decibels, and ear damage can occur with noises over 120 decibels? You don’t want to have hearing loss or become deaf because your ears were unprotected during an otherwise memorable hunting trip. With that in mind, consider electronic (digital) hearing protection products from companies like ESP (Electronic Shooters Protection).

Electronic hearing protection devices are especially ideal for hunters because they allow soft sounds to be amplified while blocking overtly loud noises. These days, hunters can buy electronic earmuffs, custom-made in-ear devices, earplugs and behind-the-ear devices to keep their ears—and their hearing—safe during hunting season.