1. ATV/Snowmobile/Vehicle Accident
A serious cause of hunting accidents each year actually involves a vehicle of some sort. Whether you’re simply on your way to the hunting property in your truck and hit a deer or you lose control of your snowmobile and hit a tree, there’s no doubt that vehicle accidents can be very serious. Many ATV accidents happen because users push them beyond their limitations, speeding faster than they should or causing rollovers. These hunter accidents are mostly preventable with safe riding or driving practices. Such practices include wearing protective gear and features (e.g., seatbelts, helmets, durable clothing, etc.), driving the speed limit (on roadways or as trail conditions dictate), and not putting yourself in a dangerous situation (e.g., fatigued driving, overloaded machines, severe weather, etc.).
2. Hunting Weapons
Firearm hunting incidents are one of the first things that most people think of when it comes to common hunting accidents. Though you’ll more often hear horror stories about firearms, bow hunting accidents do happen too. Most hunting weapon accidents revolve around someone mistakenly discharging their weapon, not identifying their target, or not knowing what is beyond their target. That’s why firearm safety courses are so important to take and keep in mind. Possible hunting accidents with guns include hunters dropping weapons, not using safety features, shooting at something moving in the woods (which they cannot identify), or hitting someone beyond the target but in the line of fire. Obviously, these hunting incidents are very serious and more often than other incident types result in a fatality.
3. Falling From Tree Stands
Another common accident is falling from a tree stand, and a tree stand accident unfortunately usually results in fatalities. Sometimes hunters misjudge the strength of a tree and accidentally climb up into a dead one, only to have everything come crashing down. Sometimes they use outdated and unsafe tree stands, which then fail in the tree. More commonly though, hunters slip while climbing into and out of their stand, or just nod off while in their tree stand. In those cases, using a hunter restraint system (while climbing and in the tree stand) is usually enough to save your life. Since it only takes another couple minutes of your time, it’s time well spent.
4. Damage to Property
Whether you are hunting on leased land or someone is hunting on your land, there is a risk that property will be damaged. This might include gates, fences, barns and outbuildings, or even valuable trees. How you use a property (or how someone uses your land) should be spelled out very clearly in a hunter lease agreement beforehand, so there are no gray areas to fight about. From that point, insurance policies are meant to help cover that damage.
5. Slips, Trips, and Falls
When you spend enough time outdoors, whether in some rugged terrain or just in an alfalfa field, there is a risk that you will slip, trip, or fall. Inevitably, you will encounter that humbling moment of falling on your face. Unfortunately, many hunting accidents occur this way. Maybe you just lose your balance and sprain your ankle on some rocks. It could be that you fall on something sharp. Or worse, you fall and your firearm discharges, hitting you, someone else, and/or property in the process.
Constantly keep an eye on where you’re walking instead of glancing at your phone or looking somewhere else. If you’re a landowner, do all you can to point out the dangerous areas like slick rock faces, loose soil, or holes and wells that a hunter could fall into.