SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's buck deer archery hunt and the general spike and bull elk archery hunts are the first big game hunts of the season, coming up on Saturday, August 21, so the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources wants archery hunters to be prepare accordingly and stay safe while out in the field.
“Every year, we receive reports of hunters getting injured falling from trees or jabbing themselves or other hunters while carrying arrows in their hands,” Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Hunter Education Program Manager RaLynne Takeda said.
So they recommend safety guidelines to prevent hunters from becoming prey, as follows:
- Tree stand safety is key, so hunters should check to the stand's weight rating to make sure it will support both the their own weight and that of their equipment.
- Safety harnesses will also prevent falls, keeping it attached until reaching the ground after the hunt.
- Carrying equipment while climbing a tree is risky as well, so the DWR recommends attaching a haul line to it, leaving plenty of slack to hoist it up to the stand.
- DWR reminds hunters that building a tree stand on land managed by the U.S. Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management is illegal; only portable stands can be used in those areas.
- And though it seems obvious, never know what's behind a target before a shot is taken. Carbon arrows can travel 100 yards, possibly onto a roadway behind a target.
“We address and take very seriously any violations that can affect the public’s safety in the field and that detract from the overall quality of the hunting experience,” says DWR Law Enforcement Chief J. Shirley.
“Many of those violations include things like loaded guns or unquivered arrows in a vehicle, not using a helmet while driving an off-highway vehicle, driving off-road and driving under the influence.”
As with any sporting activity, it's important to prepare to enjoy the hunt safely, with some precautions as follows:
- Make sure the laminations on the bow are not flaking or separating, and check the pulleys and cables on a compound bow so that it can handle the arrow.
- Practice shooting. The DWR has public shooting ranges to help hunters familiarize themselves with their equipment.
- Written permission is mandatory before hunting on private property; also know that boundaries of public and private areas to assess when permission is needed.
- Bow hunting classes are not required in Utah, but the DWR offers classes for beginners and experienced hunters alike.
- Utah's Hunt Planner is a free resource includes notes from biologist who manage the hunting units, including safety and weather items to be aware of and information about the number of bucks does in each unit, as well as maps of each unit's boundaries.
- Once the target animal is found, field dress and cool the meat immediately, as it will spoil quickly.
- Check to see if campfires are allowed in the area where you’ll hunt. Due to the extreme drought conditions, campfires are not allowed on many public lands this year.