The deer are running, and hunting season is upon us. Trauma centers such as St. John are seeing an increase in the numbers of injury incidents related to hunting because safety precautions are not being followed. While the precautions are fairly simple, they should be precisely followed for all hunters, regardless of age.
Wearing “hunter orange” outer clothing is a key safety measure all hunters should follow. This color is easily seen by humans since no other colors exist like it in nature, and deer and other game animals only see tan, brown, or blue hues.
Other safety tips:
- Do not pull the trigger unless you are sure, without a doubt, that your target is a deer. Most hunting accidents occur from hunters shooting other hunters by accident.
- Let your family or friends know when you're going hunting, where you will go and what time you're expected to be home.
- Check the weather forecast.
- If possible, avoid hunting alone.
- Use your own tree stand, and make sure it's installed or built safely before you use it.
- Properly service your hunting equipment before and after the hunt.
Deer also present another safety challenge during this time of year. They are often on or near the roadway and pay little attention to vehicles. If you see one deer, watch for others since they usually travel in groups. An increased numbers of deer are in Oklahoma this time of year due to migratory patterns, and this presents an even greater danger. Follow these tips to prevent deer/vehicle collisions:
- Stay alert when driving and watch for deer, particularly where deer crossing signs are posted.
- Be very cautious at dawn and dusk when deer are more likely to be active.
- Drive with extra caution from October to January. Deer are especially active October and November, when most incidents occur, especially since their travels increase during these breeding months.
- Use high beams whenever appropriate.
- Deer whistles should not be considered as an adequate deterrent.
- Avoid making any extreme maneuvers with your car. If you cannot avoid the collision, apply brakes until the last second, and then remove your foot from the brake pedal. This will reduce the possibility of the deer colliding with the windshield.
The St. John Trauma Center wishes you a safe and happy hunting, as well as a safe and happy holiday season!