If you are a hunter, you are probably looking forward to the upcoming hunting season with keen anticipation. However, the large number of hunters in Pennsylvania could make gun season extremely dangerous. Although tick bites that cause Lyme disease, mosquitoes that can cause West Nile Virus, bear attacks, poisonous snakes, hypothermia and poison ivy threaten hunters, shooting accidents and falls from tree stands are the most significant threats to your safety.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says average deer stand heights are from 16 feet to 40 feet above the ground. The injuries that you could suffer from a fall from a deer stand can range from bruises and scratches to fractured bones and injuries that might be severe enough to cause permanent disability, which could end your career.
When you are out hunting, you will risk being shot at by careless hunters who pull the triggers of their rifles before properly identifying the target. Other hunting risks include malfunctioning or defective equipment, such as rifles and tree stands, and negligent supervision by parents who bring children along on the hunt.
Although accidental shooting incidents happen, falls from tree stands are said to be the primary cause of hunting injuries. By taking the following precautions, your chances of returning home uninjured might be better:
- Safety training: Complete a course in hunter safety before obtaining a hunting license.
- Adult supervision: Never allow children or teenagers to hunt without adult supervision.
- Avoid lone hunting: An accident can happen anywhere and at any time, and chances of survival are slim if you hunt alone.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions: Never alter any of your hunting equipment, and make sure you understand operating instructions and recommended procedures.
- Tree selection: Base your tree selection for the tree stand on the manufacturer’s size restrictions and specifications. Avoid trees with damage or rot, and make sure it is strong and healthy enough to accommodate your weight.
- Be visible: Always wear hunter orange clothing to make sure other hunters can see you.
- Safety harness: Never use a tree stand without wearing a full body harness and a short tether to the tree to arrest your fall in the event of an accident.
- Check your equipment: As part of your preparation, it is essential to inspect all your equipment to make sure everything is in perfect order and replace damaged, worn or defective parts. Before every use, you should observe and assess your tree stand and other equipment to identify potential safety issues.
- Maintain communication: Ensure loved ones know where you are hunting, and make sure you have a cellphone or other means of communication at all times.
- Be alert: Make sure you are not tired, and avoid taking medication that causes drowsiness. Falling asleep in a tree stand is the last thing you would want to do.
Despite all your precautions, the negligence of another hunter or manufacturer of hunting equipment can cause you harm. A hunting accident can lead to mounting medical bills, lost income and other life-altering consequences. You are entitled to seek damage recovery through the Pennsylvania civil justice system. However, navigating personal injury lawsuits are complicated and having experienced legal counsel can be beneficial.