BERLIN- With the state’s firearm deer season set to open on Saturday, the Natural Resources Police (NRP) are urging hunters across Maryland including the Lower Shore to put safety first this weekend.
With the highest concentration of hunters afield during the firearm deer season, perhaps more than at any time of the year, the potential for accidents goes up exponentially this weekend, according to NRP officials. While the risk of hunters injuring others during firearm deer season goes up, perhaps the biggest cause of accidents is faulty equipment or improper use of equipment, according to NRP Superintendent Col. George F. Johnson IV.
“Tree stand incidents account for most hunting accidents,” he said this week. “Using the proper safety equipment is an essential component in staying safe while afield.”
NRP officials this week are reminding all hunters to use a full-body safety harness that keeps them tethered to the tree and prevents a fall to the ground. In addition, hunters are encouraged to carefully inspect their safety equipment prior to hitting the woods and replace any worn or broken parts.
While tree stand incidents and safety equipment failures account for many hunting accidents during firearm deer season, the improper use of firearms has been identified as the cause of most serious, sometimes fatal, accidents. Hunters are urged this weekend to inspect, become familiar with and practice with their weapon of choice prior to the start of the hunting season.
In addition, hunters are encouraged to follow two cardinal rules when handling a firearm, including treating every gun as if it were loaded and never pointing a firearm at anything unless intending to shoot. In addition, hunters are encouraged to positively identify their intended target and make sure the area behind the target is devoid of other hunters or property before the trigger is pulled.
Deer hunters are required to obtain and possess a hunting license while hunting and a course in firearm and hunter safety is required for those who did not hunt before July 1, 1977. Hunters are also reminded they must receive written permission from a landowner before hunting on private property.