Hunting Safety Reminders from Your Panama City Recreational Injury Lawyer
Northwest Florida offers a wide range of options for sporting enthusiasts, including hunters. Depending on the season, hunters can use crossbows, rifles, shotguns, or other tools of the trade to seek a variety of game such as ducks, turkeys, and deer. Hunting requires skill and precision, rewarding the successful sportsperson with tangible (and often tasty!) results. While the sport is rewarding, it can also be extremely dangerous, and hunting accidents can be terribly tragic. Our Panama City hunting accident attorney encourages all hunters to make safety their number one priority.
Hunting Season Opens in Northwest Florida
As Thanksgiving Day approached, some grew excited about the big feast while others began dreaming of the Black Friday sales. Hunters had another reason to celebrate, as the holiday marked the start of the annual hunting season. Per WJHG, from November 28th through December 1st area hunters were permitted to target deer and wild boar using a variety of guns. While that session has now closed, a longer general hunting period is set for December 14 through February 22. Hunters should take note that special restrictions apply near Tyndall Air Force Base, where rifles are not permitted. Further details on the dates for Florida's 2013-2014 hunting season can be found on the website for Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission ("FWC").
Hunting Safety Course Required for Some License Seekers
The FWC's website also details the state's hunting safety course requirements. Anyone born on June 1st, 1975 or later must complete a hunter safety course and present a valid certification card in order to obtain a Florida hunting license. A Hunter Safety Mentoring Exemption allows people over age 16 who would normally fall under the requirement to hunt under the supervision of a properly-licensed adult hunter without completing the course requirement.
Hunting Safety Tips
Regardless of age, hunters should always make safety a top priority. HowStuffWorks notes that hundreds of hunters suffer injuries each year, and there are a range of causes beyond firearm accidents. In line with that reality, the site provides five basic tips for safe hunting:
- Use caution in tree stands. While they provide an elevated view that can help make an outing successful, falls can occur while on the stand or while mounting/dismounting. Fall restraints and harnesses can help keep hunters safe while off the ground.
- Always have a partner. Hunting alone can turn a minor injury into a major threat. If a partner/group is not an option, be sure to share your specific hunting plan with others and set a check-in time so that someone can send help if you don't return as planned.
- Wear bright clothing, specifically hunter orange. Staying safe means staying visible to other hunters in the area. One study found that 76% of hunting accidents involving more than one hunter involved people who had not worn hunter orange. A flashlight can also help others identify you as a person, not a target.
- Know your target. Why is this a safety tip? Understanding your target helps ensure every shot is purposeful and helps you avoid hitting another person or a non-game animal. Do not take a shot unless you are sure it is safe, a rule that may mean missing a few opportunities but prevents tragic accidents.
- Practice weapon safety. This tip is self-explanatory but incredibly important. Elements of gun safety include always treating a weapon as if it were loaded, keep the muzzle pointed to the ground, and keep your finger away from the trigger until you are fully ready to shoot.
Helping The Victims of Negligent Hunters in Northwest Florida
Most hunters practice safe sporting habits. Unfortunately, there are exceptions, and their negligence can have tragic results. If the negligence of another hunter causes you injury or claims the life of a family member, please contact our Panama City injury lawyer. Together with his legal team, Attorney Pittman can help you recover monetary compensation and begin to move forward from the tragedy.