Just like fishing, many enjoy the serenity and challenge of being out in the wild and nabbing a big bird to bring home for dinner. Though a popular activity when in season, waterfowl hunting safety is something that has to be constantly remembered for both beginners and experts. Anytime you mix firearms and the unpredictability of the great outdoors, you must use caution.
Before you take your boat out on your next hunt, make sure you’re conscious of the following waterfowl hunting safety tips.
Don’t Get Your Goose Cooked: Waterfowl Hunting Safety Tips
- Boat-Based Safety: You must maintain the same safety standards you would on your vessel used for hunting as you would on any boat you’d take on the open water. Some throw caution to the wind when using smaller boats for waterfowl hunting but this is a critical error. You should still stow away emergency safety equipment (GPS, radio, PFD, flashlight, flares, first aid, etc.) and share a float plan and information with friends or family back home, detailing where you are hunting and when you plan on returning, just in case you find yourself stranded.
- Gun Safety: Keep your firearm unloaded until you are safely in position and ready to fire. Loading your weapon before you’re ready to use it adds significant and unnecessary risk to your trip. Before even setting out on your hunting trip, however, be sure to perform a full safety check on your weapon, looking for obstructions in the breach and other common issues.
Once in position and ready to fire, always stay within your shooting lane and maintain muzzle awareness. It’s easy to get excited and wildly swing your gun into a blind spot to try to make a shot. Doing so is incredibly reckless and should be avoided at all costs.
- Eyes and Ears: Protecting both vision and hearing is important for anyone looking to make hunting more than a one-time affair. The sounds of multiple gunshots at close range can have irreversible effects to your hearing, as can ejected shell casings or a ricocheted pellet to your vision. Always wear ANSI-rated glasses and sound-cancelling ear protection whenever using firearms.
Besides the above, never (and we mean ever) go boating or hunting while under the influence of alcohol. Utilizing firearms and boating are both major responsibilities that require you to have your wits about you. Never risk injuring (or worse) those you may be boating with, or others who may also be hunting on the same waters.
Boat safe and happy hunting!
Information collected from: Ducks Unlimited