A Little Safety Note On The Way To Deer Camp
October 19, 2012
Since around the middle of September, I’ve seen a growing stream of pickup trucks, SUVs, and campers coming and going along the caliche road in front of my house. In the backs of these vehicles, and on trailers, they’re hauling tree stands, building materials, feeders, and pallets of corn. Rifle deer season is right around the corner, here in the Hill Country, and these folks are obviously gearing up, working on their leases, and sighting in their rifles.
It’s that last one that got my mind to working this morning, as I heard a couple of distant rifle shots down the canyon. As the guns come out (I know they’re already out in much of the country), I just wanted to offer up a reminder to be safe. Keep some basic, gun safety commandments in your mind:
- Treat every firearm as if it is loaded
- Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot
- Always be sure of your target and what’s beyond it
There are a bunch more rules, and I’d wager most hunters are aware of them. If not, I strongly recommend signing up for a hunter safety course or refresher.
But knowing the safety rules and following them are different things, unfortunately, and every year a handful of hunters and gun owners learns this lesson the hard way… often with tragic consequences. I tend to agree with some of the hunter ed instructors I know who say, “there are very few firearms accidents, but there are plenty of firearm incidents.”
The implication is that almost every unintentional shooting is preventable if the individuals involved followed basic safety rules, and I think this is both a true and a fair statement. Sure, sometimes there are just absolutely freak situations that defy explanation. But in most cases, the problem comes from a gun that someone thought was unloaded, a muzzle pointed in an unsafe direction, or failure to consider what lay beyond a target.
This last consideration is the one that’s been on my mind lately, as folks begin to show up to their hunting camps and the hills echo with gunshots. Target shooting is a lot of fun, whether it’s with your hunting rifles or a plinker. But it’s also important to think about where you’re shooting, and where those bullets may end up. Even if you’re going to a camp that’s been in the family for generations, remember that while the old place may not have changed, the area around you may have. Someone may have built a home or put in livestock. New camps may have been built on adjacent properties. Stands and blinds may have been set in places where they never were before.
Point is, just because your target range was safe last year, it may not be this season. Check it out before you start slinging lead.
Be safe everybody.