Now that hunting and fall fishing are both in full swing, I think that it’s time to focus on some negative things. Those would involve safety in the outdoors. A few years ago, because my buddy and I ignored virtually all of the safety rules, I had to be rescued by the Parker Volunteer Fire Department. This week, let’s look at some basic safety rules that should govern all outdoor activities. Let’s examine a few of the possible hazards, and how to deal with them.
One of the worst occurs when you step lengthwise on a wet log, under the leaves. Down you go, and right on your tailbone. Often, if you are really careful, you can spot the logs ahead of time, but you’re almost certain to miss spotting one from time to time. It’s also possible to hit your head on a rock or log, causing serious injury, including prolonged unconsciousness. Cold weather compounds this problem. Broken bones can also happen, and if you are a long way from help, can be a life-threatening problem.
Still another potential problem is eye injury. When you are absorbed in what you’re doing, it’s easy to get poked in the eye with a branch. Here’s yet another of many cases where a bit of caution can go a long way toward preventing a problem, but we all let our guard down once in awhile. I once wound up in the ER because of getting poked in an eye by a branch.
Don’t forget about poisonous plants, like poison ivy and poison oak. They can still get you, and they are a lot harder to see now. Just to be safe, I always shower with Fels Naptha soap when I get home from hunting.
It is vital that you know your physical limitations and stay within them. Since my bout with Covid in 2020, I have found myself with some new limitations regarding balance. It looks as though the problem will be permanent. If you are out of shape, and seldom exercise, the rigors of walking, climbing hills, dragging out a deer, etc. can be too much for you. If you haven’t been active in awhile, this should send up warning flags. Heart attacks and other medical crises are always a possibility. For that matter, you could throw your back out and be unable to move. You really must take a realistic look at your medical status and, if necessary, consult your doctor before heading out.
If, like me, you frequently hunt by yourself, it’s vitally important that someone knows where you are hunting. Cell phones are great, and can often save the day, but you never know when you might wander into a “no service” zone.
Here’s a little tip which, while not necessarily safety-related, can save you a lot of trouble if things go a bit awry. It’s a good idea to carry a wire coat hanger in your game bag. I’m sure some of you out there are wondering why you should do that. Here are just a couple of possibilities. If you accidentally lock yourself out of your vehicle, a straightened-out coat hanger can save the day for you. Also, it can make a great makeshift ramrod if you somehow plug up the barrel of your gun. If you tear the exhaust system off your vehicle, the coat hanger can wire it back up. While the potential uses are too numerous to list, carrying the simple old hanger is nothing short of a great idea.
When you come right down to it, outdoor sports are really very safe pastimes. A little common sense can usually head off problems before they happen.