Bowhunting is a safe outdoor pursuit when compared to other types of outdoor recreation and is significantly safer than many sports played indoors or outdoors.
However, bowhunting does involve a certain amount of risk. The equipment bowhunters use and the places they go provide opportunities for unplanned events that can result in physical harm or even death. The rougher the terrain—particularly in an unfamiliar area—the greater the chance of accidents. Climate extremes also increase the risk factor, and there’s always the prospect of getting lost.
To avoid or minimize problems, it’s essential that you plan carefully for the hunt. Responsible hunters anticipate potential problems and make plans to deal with them. Try to assess risks by visualizing every step of the hunt:
- Driving to the hunting area
- Hiking to a hunting spot
- Erecting a stand or blind
- Climbing into and out of your tree stand
- Shooting and recovering game
- Dressing the game
- Packing out your game
Ask yourself what could go wrong at each step, and determine how to avoid those problems. At the same time, you must prepare for the worst. That means being mentally prepared and equipped to cope with emergency situations.
Hunting often demands more physical exertion than you’re accustomed to doing. Conditions that hamper your physical ability to perform safely and responsibly while hunting include:
- A heart condition
- Excess weight
- Poor physical conditioning
If you’re planning a hunt that involves fairly strenuous activity, start getting in shape at least two months ahead of time.