LINCOLN – Summer is winding down, and that means it’s time to gear up for fall hunting. Nebraska’s archery season for deer, and small game seasons for rabbits, doves, snipe, rail and grouse open Sept. 1.
Nebraska Hunter Education Coordinator Wendy Horine says hunters should prepare for upcoming seasons by checking to see they have the proper equipment and ensure it is in good working condition.
“Match the proper ammunition to your firearm and make sure guns are clean and free of debris,” she said. “Check strings and cables on bows for wear, and spend as much time as you can practicing on the range before venturing out. But with the excitement of preparing for a hunt, sometimes safety is overlooked.”
Horine reminds hunters to follow these basic safety rules:
— Always tell someone where you are going to hunt and when you expect to be back.
— Practice muzzle control with firearms; never point a firearm at anything you don’t intend to shoot.
— Practice arrow control with bows; always be aware of where a razor-sharp hunting broadhead is pointed and never draw and point a bow or crossbow at anything you don’t intend to shoot.
— Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded.
— Always be sure of your target and what is beyond it; never shoot at sounds our shadows.
— Never touch the trigger of a firearm or release an arrow from a bow or crossbow until you are sure of your target and ready to shoot; once released, you can’t take back the shot.
Those who hunt from tree stands should always use a fall arrest system rated for your personal weight.
“According to the Treestand Manufacturers Association, tree stand accidents account for 36 percent of all hunting accidents,” Horine said. “Ropes or other homemade devices are dangerous and should never be used as a substitute for a fall arrest system. The few extra minutes it takes to use a fall arrest system could save your life.”
Before using a tree stand, check for metal fatigue on all joints and welds. Check metal stands for rust and wood stands for rot. Make sure there are no missing bolts and nuts, and look for deterioration due to age or poor storage condition.
Although archery hunters are not required to wear hunter orange during the early season, they are required to wear it if they continue to archery hunt during the November firearm season. “All hunters should wear hunter orange as a precaution in the field,” Horine said. “Hunter orange makes hunters more visible to others in the field and is proven to save lives.”
For more information about hunting safety or the Nebraska Hunter Education Program, visit HuntSafeNebraska.org, or contact Horine at 402-471-6134.