Stay safe in the outdoors


By Roger Wolfe - Outdoors Columnist



September 24 was the opening day of the West Virginia archery season for deer, bear and wild boar. That means the hunters are back in the woods full force and many of those same hunters have already had some measure of success.

Some hunters weren’t so fortunate and others still had their day and possibly their season ruined by getting injured on the very first day of the season. It happens every year, but even one hunting accident is one too many. Most hunting injuries are usually mild sprains, strains, scrapes or bruises, but each year there are several hunters seriously injured or even killed while hunting.

Opening day of deer season, whether it be archery season or firearms season, is an exciting time for hunters all across the state. Many hunters look forward to these opening dates like children look forward to Christmas morning. I know I certainly do.

It is often this anticipation and excitement that causes a momentary lapse in judgement which often leads to accidental injury. Many of these accidents can easily be prevented and it is up to us as hunters to take every precaution to prevent injury to ourselves and those hunting with us.

It is hard to believe that there are still folks out there who will climb into any kind of elevated hunting platform without wearing a safety harness of some fashion. Time and time again it has been proven that safety harnesses save countless lives and injuries every single hunting season, but some hunters believe that they are always careful and they won’t fall out.

I bet if you were to ask every hunter that has taken a fall from treestand they would all tell you that they were being careful and they never expected to fall. No one expects to get into a car accident, but we are sure thankful for insurance if we ever do.

Take that same approach into the woods. I don’t expect to fall out of a tree, but you can bet I always have my safety harness on every time my feet leave the ground. It is always better safe than sorry.

Not every hunting related injury comes from falling out of a stand. Each year hundreds, if not thousands, of hunters are injured simply by walking in the woods or around a steep mountain side and taking an unexpected tumble.

Some hunters will ruin a great day in the woods by over exerting themselves getting that prize animal out of the woods. Others still may get a nasty cut either from a wayward broadhead or possibly even from a trusty pocket knife while field dressing harvested game.

Regardless of the type of injury, it can sure put a damper on a great outing. The bulk of these outdoor accidents can be prevented by simply taking your time and slowing down just a bit.

Just as the kids at Christmas are often urged to slow down and take their time and enjoy the moment, the same should be said of those hunters hitting the woods. Hunting season will be around for months to come so there is no need to rush in and go at breakneck speed (pun intended) and risk an injury of any type.

It is the thrill and excitement of the hunt that will cause a hunter to get up at all hours of the night and drive countless hours just to climb into the top of a tree in all sorts of weather conditions. It is this same excitement and drive that can often be the catalyst to many of the injuries suffered by those very same hunters.

So, slow down and enjoy every moment you spend in the woods. Not only will it make that time more relaxing and precious, it may very well prevent an injury that can turn a good day in the woods sour in a hurry.

Just be careful out there and make sure you take a moment to take in all the wonders the fall woods have to offer. It may be that very same moment that helps prevent an injury or accident from ruining your season.

By Roger Wolfe

Outdoors Columnist

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