Hunting - better safe than sorry

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Zachary Hada
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
With hunting season fast approaching, many Airmen have made plans to explore the Black Hills and try their hand at hunting. But amidst all of the planning, one element that should never be overlooked is safety.

"Safety should be at the forefront of any hunting trip," said Dave Routh, 28th Force Support Squadron outdoor recreation aid. "There are too many risks present for it not to be."

Routh explained that Airmen need to consider a number of things before taking to the field. First and foremost, to attend and complete the required hunter's safety course.

"Airmen should also take time to learn more about South Dakota's hunting and trapping rules and regulations," said Routh. "This will help them stay out of trouble and stay informed."

He said that after Airmen are familiar and understand the local rules and regulations, they should ensure they know how to properly operate their gear and seek out an experienced hunter to learn from.

"Tagging along with seasoned hunters can be very beneficial for inexperienced hunters," Routh emphasized. "It will give new hunters an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of hunting - ultimately leading to a safer hunt."

A good hunting mentor will also be able to explain the right gear for the right hunting, to include the crucial act of wearing the right amount of blaze orange as required by law.

John Morgenstern, 28 Civil Engineer Squadron Natural and Cultural resources program manager, said Airmen should always wear brightly colored clothes to reduce the likelihood of being mistaken for a target.

"Hunters must maintain situational awareness and know where other members of their group are at all times," Morgenstern said. "In addition, when hunting in groups for pheasant or similar game, they need to be spread out enough from each other so that if they need to take a shot, no one will be caught in the cross fire."

Understanding the rules, donning the right gear, being familiar with the firearm they are using and finding a good hunting partner are great first steps. Next up, new hunters should take time to learn about the area they are hunting, especially when big game like deer or turkey.

Routh said that planning is crucial, adding that Airmen should scout an area prior to hunting to avoid getting lost.

"Hunting is fun, but it can also be dangerous," Routh noted. "That's why it's important for everyone to make sure they are up-to-speed with gun and hunting safety. Take time to experience this area and what it offers. I've been here for 34 years and I'm still finding new things to do."

For more information about hunting opportunities and hunting safety tips, visit SD GFP.