North Dakota hunter safety

Published: Sep. 24, 2022 at 7:40 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - This is the time of year when hunters hit the fields with family and friends pursuing wild game.

The majority of hunting accidents in North Dakota are preventable, a notable fact to keep in mind when hitting the field this fall.

“Generally, they’re occurring just a lapse of judgment. And so, whether that’s in or around a vehicle or swinging on a game, we just really encourage people to think about those situations before they occur, so they don’t have to make that split second decision,” said hunter education coordinator Brian Schaffer.

Schaffer says for upland game hunters, there’s two scenarios hunters should think about before they ever get into the field.

“The first one is maintaining a line if you’re hunting in a group of hunters. That really impacts your safe zones of fire and, so, whether the terrain varies, or people walk faster or slower than others, it’s just critical for people to maintain a straight line if you’re hunting in a large group. Another scenario we see situations with is when we get to an obstacle and in North Dakota probably the most common one there is a barbed wire fence, just make sure you unload those firearms and leave those actions open and just take that extra 30 seconds to be careful when we’re going over those fences,” said Schaffer.

When field hunting for waterfowl there are a few safety tips when using a layout blind.

“We just encourage people to make sure that they’re maintaining positive muzzle control. We’ve had a few accidents where people are putting the firearms down inside the layout blind, which leads to all kinds of unsafe situations. So make sure that barrel is pointing out of the blind and the safety stays on, finger outside of the trigger until you’re sitting up and shouldering that shotgun,” said Schaffer.

Deer rifle season is when many hunters are in the field.

“So it’s critical that we identify our target and what’s beyond it because our deer rifles can go a long ways. In North Dakota, we’re required by law to wear solid blaze orange. Hunting is a great way to spend time with family and friends, but always keep safety first, and at the end of the day if you follow the basics you’re going to have a great day out in the field enjoying our natural resources and getting home to your family,” said Schaffer.

Upland game hunters are encouraged to wear orange to be more visible to others.