November marks fall and all its outdoor glory in full swing, with cooler weather at long last here in South Alabama and plenty of outdoor pursuits filling up weekend calendars. Hunting is one of those fall pastimes that allow families and friends to get together and get outside to appreciate nature. Whether dove, deer season, fishing or hiking is your plan; Alabama offers thousands of acres of public and private lands to enjoy. From tree stands to firearms to ATV’s, there are several safety tips to keep in mind:
If hunting with family or friends:
- Know your target and what is beyond it.
- Attend a hunting safety course.
- Make sure all guns are safe to operate.
- Don’t mix cartridges from different calibers.
- Wear ear and eye protection.
- Store guns so that they are inaccessible to unauthorized persons.
- Understand that some guns and activities require additional safety precautions.
- Do not use alcohol and be aware of drugs that might impair your ability to safely handle a firearm or weapon safely.
You might be surprised how many injuries we see in the orthopaedics field – especially in the early days of the season when hunters may be out of practice in the “ups and downs” of climbing a tree stand. Twisted ankles, shoulder injuries or broken bones from a fall can happen in a flash. Alabama Fish and Wildlife recommends before you hunt:
- Know your equipment which includes checking your stands, straps, and chains every season and replace them as needed.
- Select the right tree: straight, the correct size for your stand, avoiding smooth barked trees, and check for insect nests.
- Wear a full body safety harness, know how to use it properly, and wear it at all times.
- Use a haul line to raise and lower your equipment.
- Make sure your weapon is unloaded while raising and lowering in your stand.
- Have emergency equipment available: knife, cell phone, and flashlight.
Off road recreational vehicles are often essential in exploring and accessing hunting grounds, and come with their own potential risks. Protective head gear, eye wear, appropriate sizing and training are a must. Safety courses are a smart idea – and available through ATV dealers or the ATV Safety Institute.
We’re fortunate to live in a place with ample opportunity to get outdoors and up close to wildlife and nature. All of us here at Bayside Orthopaedics care about your health whether on the field of play… or in the field… literally! Get out there – but do so safely.
Joey F. Carter, MD
Dr. Carter received his MD from the University of Mississippi School Of Medicine in Jackson, MS. He is
Board Certified in Orthopaedic Surgery and a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.