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Duck Hunting Safety

Duck Hunting Safety

For some of us, the fun factor of duck hunting safety is right up there with watching your fingernails grow. Didn’t we leave that behind in hunter education? Right, we get it.

But between firearms, water, and small boats there is a lot that could go wrong. When the excitement of waterfowl hunting seasons hit, safety consciousness can go out the window. Therefore, here are three of the top safety concerns to remember when you head out on your next hunting trip.

Keep Guns Unloaded

In some states, keeping firearms unloaded on a moving vessel is a legal requirement. But it’s also good sense to only load when you’re stopped and ready to start hunting. Ideally, your shotgun is unloaded, breach open, with the safety on. You can also ensure your dog’s safety by only loading your shotgun once it’s in hand. Then keep it secure to avoid any accidental discharges.

Stay in Your Lane

Remember your zones-of-fire! That’s Duck Hunting Safety 101. Keep your shooting lanes at 10 and 2 o’clock when you are hunting side-by-side with other duck hunters. That’s about a 45-degree swath in-front of you. Don’t become so fixated on your target that you lose track and accidentally swing on your partner.

If you’re waterfowl hunting from a boat, positioning back-to-back is the safest. However, brush and cover may not always allow that set-up.

Wear Your Personal Flotation Device

Cold water kills. If you’re fortunate to get through cold water shock, then there’s hypothermia to contend with. It’s vital to wear a PFD to survive both.

“Cold shock response” is a reflex that incapacitates and can kill within seconds if a waterfowl hunter goes overboard. It can cause involuntary gasping underwater, drowning the unfortunate victim before they even get a chance to resurface. A life jacket will buy you time by keeping your head above water.

However, a standard life jacket won’t stop “swim failure” and eventually hypothermia from setting in.

That’s when PFDs like a float coat is a better choice. Float coats help keep your core body temp up while maintaining buoyancy and keeping your head above water. They’ll keep you warm in the water, but also when general weather conditions are sub-Arctic.

Always, always wear a PFD whenever you’re on the water. A little bit of bulkiness is better than losing your life. Yes, they make them in camo specifically for waterfowlers!

At HD Guide Service, duck hunting safety is a priority for our staff and clients. It may not be fun to talk about, but it’s critical to have established. Safety is so important to us in fact, that our blinds are accessible by foot – no boat needed! Interested in hunting waterfowl in Tennessee? Consider booking a hunt with us on Reelfoot Lake!