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5 Safety Tips for Hunting Day

Aug 17, 2007
When hunting season approaches each year, many eager bow or gun shooters make ready to hit the wilds and bag their pretty. But what many fail to take into account is the need to protect themselves from the wilds of fierce weather, especially when hunting during the late fall or winter seasons. If you or someone you care about plans to go hunting during those bitterly cold times of year, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

1. Get plenty of sleep beforehand. Since hunters sometimes take to the woods at any hour of the day or night, and because they must keep still in their stands while waiting for prey to approach, it is natural to become sleepy at times. But falling asleep can be dangerous due to the risk of hypothermia or falling out of a tree, if that is your perch. Get at least six to eight hours the day before your hunting expedition. Avoid taking medications that can make you drowsy, unless you really need them.

2. Eat a healthy meal before you go. Someone who is hungry or dehydrated can more quickly become cold, lacking fuel to warm their bodies adequately. It helps to feed on protein and complex carbohydrates. Even certain types of fat can be good as far as helping to insulate your body. Drink eight ounces of fluid every couple of hours unless you are expending lots of energy in chasing your prey, in which case you will need to drink more often.

3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Either of these can provide a false sense of warmth that may lead you into removing a scarf, gloves, or other clothing or render you vulnerable to the cold. Caffeine can interfere with your circulation, too, so stick to decaf on the day of your outing. In addition, alcohol use may impair your judgment, which can cause further problems while hunting in the cold.

4. Dress in layers. Expert hunters are familiar with the regular hunting clothes they can get at sports equipment shops or department stores. You need insulated or thermal underwear, shirts and pants, and even overalls or a cover suit to protect your skin from the elements. Don't forget a hat, gloves, boots (with thermal socks), and sunglasses if you plan to be out during the day. If at any time you start to feel chill and shiver, it's time to go in for the day, as your body temperature is dipping too low for safety.

5. Don't forget the safety equipment. In addition to appropriate weapons and licenses, you may want to bring along a map or a GPS, a woodman's knife, a thermos of hot liquid in case you get chilled or thirsty, and some type of communication device, like a cell phone. Let someone know where you will be and when you will return so in case something happens, they will know where to look for you.

Taking a few sensible precautions like these will help to make your hunting trip fun and profitable while keeping you safe in the bargain.
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