Our Opinion: Keep deer hunting a safe sport

The main portion of the deer season starts today, and the Missouri Department of Conservation expects a higher than average harvest from this year’s firearms deer season.

With that in mind, we’d like to remind hunters to practice safety.

Opening weekend, today and Sunday, is the most popular time for deer hunting in the state as hunters usually harvest between a quarter to a third of the annual total in those two days.

Last year, 80,744 deer — of the total 297,214 hunted — were harvested during the opening weekend.

Deer hunting is a safe sport, with fewer injuries per participant than many sports, according to the National Safety Council. Let’s keep it that way.

Hunters, keep in mind these safety tips from MU Health Care:

• Wear hunter orange when in the woods.

• Know the effective range of your gun.

• Always identify your target before putting your finger on the trigger.

• Stay aware of other hunters. Assume sound or movement is another hunter until you can clearly see what it is.

• Be sure of your target and what lies beyond it.

• Make sure your equipment is in good working condition and your firearm is properly sighted in.

• If you hunt on private land, know where the boundaries, houses, roads, fences and livestock are located on the property.

• Report observed violations of the law to a conservation agent or local sheriff.

• Know and obey all wildlife laws and gun safety.

• When using a camouflage blind, other hunters cannot see you even if you are wearing hunter orange. Tie hunter orange on each side of the blind so it can be seen from all sides.

• If you are an inexperienced hunter, try to learn from experienced hunters.

• If you are involved in a firearms-related hunting incident, follow the law: Identify yourself and render assistance.

Deer hunting is a time-honored tradition here in Missouri. Keep these tips in mind when you head into the woods, and let’s all look forward to a productive and safe hunting season.

News Tribune

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