Aim For A Safe Hunting Season

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Hunting is one of Michigan’s most popular sports, and most hunters enjoy it safely. But during every hunting season, hospitals see an increase in emergency room visits.

According to emergency medicine specialist and hunting enthusiast, Alan Lazzara, M.D., a hunter is two-to-three times more likely to be injured by a fall from a tree stand than from a firearm, although either can happen. Tree stand falls can cause serious leg fractures and spinal cord injuries that result in long-term disability.

With a little precaution and planning, you can make this hunting season safer for everyone, including non-hunters out for a hike in the woods. Dr. Lazzara offers the following safety tips.

Tips for Hunters

  • Treat every firearm as though it is loaded. 
  • Aim only at what you intend to shoot. 
  • Keep the safety on and your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  • Be sure of your target and what is beyond; never shoot at movement alone. 
  • Plan your hunt and hunt your plan, so others know where to look if you do not return. 
  • Do an equipment safety check before and after every outing.
  • Avoid alcohol and other drugs before and during your hunt.
  • Carry a cell phone and a whistle for emergency signaling.
  • Consider bringing a tourniquet; it could save your life.
  • Make sure your tree stand is securely built and the tree is healthy.
  • Wear a high-quality, full-body tree harness.
  • Clip into your safety line or linemen's belt every time you leave the ground. 
  • Use proper climbing and descending procedures.

Tips for Non-Hunters

  • Know when and where hunting is allowed, especially on public land.
  • Avoid hiking or running in hunting areas in the low light of dawn or dusk.
  • Wear a blaze orange hat or other bright clothing.
  • Make sure your dog is leashed and wearing an orange bandana or vest.
  • Stay on established trails.
  • Whistle or raise your voice, if you hear shooting.
  • Leave the area, if hunters seem to be nearby.
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Henry Ford Health System has nine ER locations across southeast and south central Michigan. Learn more about how to get care when and where you need it. 

Dr. Alan Lazzara is board-certified in Emergency Medicine and cares for patients at Henry Ford Allegiance Health in Jackson.

Categories: FeelWell