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November 15, 2014 marks the start of rifle season in Missouri. Many sportsmen will be headed to the woods this Saturday to searchfor the elusive buck. Although the Missouri Department of Conservation reports that hunting personal injury occurrences are the fewest per 100,000 injured than any other sport, there are potential dangers looming in any remote location.

Credit:  Flickr/Torrey Wiley

Credit: Flickr/Torrey Wiley

Hunter safety is easy when following a few simple guidelines:

  • Be sure of your target before shooting.
  • Wear hunter safety orange clothing to ensure you are seen in the woods by other hunters.
  • If using a tree stand, ALWAYS use a safety harness. Falling from tree stands is the most common hunter injury.
  • If using a blind, even when wearing hunter safety orange, you cannot be seen. Tie hunter orange ties to all sides of the blind so that other hunters can see you.

An obvious risk associated with hunting is the possibility of an accidental shooting. It is important to use the highest degree of care when in the forest. Hunters must be silent in order to catch their prey. This results in the hunter’s ability to hear the sounds of a moving target. That is why it is imperative to use hunter safety orange gear so that another hunter is aware you are sharing the woods with them to prevent personal injury. Accidental shootings are not extremely common, but often devastating. You can also help prevent a personal injury by ensuring your firearm is properly cleaned and in good working order. The woods is the last place you want to have a personal injury. The isolated areas where hunters often flock is not easily traversed or located by emergency medical personnel.

As a landowner, you can be proactive to prevent personal injury too.

There are also risks of falls in wooded areas. If you are a landowner and allow the use of your land to other hunters, you could be responsible for certain personal injury on your land under Missouri’s premises liability law. Personal injury accidents can sometimes be the end of great personal relationships. Someone gets injured, files a claim against the landowner, and quickly, the relationship starts to deteriorate. The best way to protect yourself from this situation is to limit the amount of hunters you allow on your property.

You can ensure hunter safety on your land by doing a few simple things before allowing anyone to enter:

  • Test all tree stands for stability before allowing anyone on your property.
  • Ensure all persons hunting on your land are practicing proper hunter safety (using hunter orange clothing, tree stand harnesses, etc.)
  • If there are trails and paths used to enter the woods, check for obstructions and remedy any that could pose a risk for a fall.
  • In some cases, additional insurance can be purchased to protect you and your assets in the event someone is injured on your property.

Hunter safety is achieved through the diligence of both the hunter and the landowner. Doing your part to stay out of harm’s way is the best way to prevent personal injury during hunting season.

If you have been injured while hunting and feel you may have a claim, call Missouri and Illinois personal injury attorneys Kullmann, Klein & Dioneda today at 314-862-7222 to discuss your legal rights.