The well-known Pennsylvania bow manufacturer Fred Bear once said: “Not only is bowhunting fun and a real challenge, but it’s good for you. The exercise in the fresh air, the chance to get away from everyday pressures and problems, a return to the basic relationships between man and his environment.”
Many bowhunters in Pennsylvania share his opinion, and without taking essential safety precautions, this is an activity that could cause severe or even fatal injuries. It is hunting season, and you will want to return home safely. Whenever deadly weapons form part of hobbies or sports activities, there will be situations in which unanticipated tragedies can strike. Your life could change in the blink of an eye if even one member of the hunting party is negligent.
You can prepare for some of the known hazards of bowhunting. These include exposure to the elements for too long if you should lose your way, lacerations and cuts caused by knives or broadheads, and falls — often from tree stands. If you are familiar with the typical hazards, you could take precautions to prevent serious injuries.
Falls from tree stands
During every year’s hunting season, hunters suffer critical of fatal injuries when they fall from tree stands. You could prevent such an accident if you follow all the safety guidelines that came with the equipment. Manufacturers of the equipment work according to strict safety standards, but you will remain responsible for compliance with safety rules.
Discuss safety preparations
It is crucial to arrange a pre-hunt meeting with fellow hunters to establish the following:
- Ensure that all the hunting companions are mentally ready and prepared to deal with unanticipated accidents.
- Assure each hunter understands what other members of the hunting party will do if he or she suffers injuries.
- Determine which hunters have up-to-date first aid and CPR qualifications.
Prepare for all situations
In order to provide yourself and your companions with the safest, most productive excursion possible, you will be wise to adhere to the following:
- Study weather forecasts and the terrain you expect to encounter and equip yourself with appropriate clothing.
- Pack a well-stocked first aid kit, and familiarize yourself with its contents and the proper use of each item.
- Take the time to obtain first aid and CPR training, and do refresher courses to stay informed.
- Ensure the first-aid kit contains whatever is necessary to deal with serious injuries such as heavy bleeding caused by a hunting knife or a sharp broadhead.
- Make sure to enclose your personal prescription or over-the-counter medications, and mind the risks of side effects that could impair vision and other senses or cause drowsiness.
Pack a survival kit
If you become lost or suffer injuries that prevent you from moving, you will need a compact survival kit that contains the following:
- A whistle, mirror or another signaling device along with a large piece of fluorescent orange fabric.
- A flashlight and a pack of extra batteries for it.
- A space bag or space blanket to keep you warm — even a large piece of plastic can work.
- A water bottle and tablets to purify water along with a ready-to-eat meal.
- A lighter or waterproof matches to use for starting a fire.
- Snacks such as trail mix containing dried fruit and nuts along with some high-energy food bars.
Unfortunately, regardless of all your precautions, accidents might happen. If another hunter’s negligence caused your injuries, or if a malfunctioning tree-stand or hunter’s bow is the cause, you might have grounds to pursue financial relief through the Pennsylvania civil justice system. The best steps to take might be to consult with an attorney who is experienced in dealing with hunting accidents to determine the viability of such a claim. A lawyer can then provide support and guidance throughout the legal proceedings.