Thousands of hunters and their families are heading to the woods in the next few weeks and months in pursuit of everything from squirrels to ducks to deer and more. Union Parish Sheriff Dusty Gates reminds hunters to take a few extra minutes to always plan safety into each of your hunting trips.
“We have to be ready to deal with just about anything you can imagine at the Sheriff’s office,” the veteran sheriff says. “But one thing we never, never like to hear is a call come in over the radio that someone has been injured — or worse — while out hunting or in the outdoors. Everybody thinks it won’t happen to them and we hope it never does. The best way to avoid it is follow the age old adage that a pound of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Hunters need to always let somebody know where they are going and when they plan to leave the woods so that if there is some kind of emergency that emergency responders have a good idea of where to start. Always wear hunter orange when you are supposed to and never travel, cross fences or climb up into a stand with a loaded gun. Test and wear your safety harness if you are getting off the ground. And if your hunt takes you on the water, always wear a personal flotation device.
“Unfortunately we hear about hunters being injured all the time and too many times we have boaters who are having a great time one second, then fighting for their lives the next,” he says. “Don’t take chances. Never take safety for granted. Never be embarrassed to tell someone that is hunting with you if they do something unsafe and how they should correct their behavior. If they don’t want to do it safely, maybe you should be hunting with someone else.
Just be safe for yourself, your family and your friends.”