WOODS CROSS – The first round of archery hunts begins in just over one week, and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has a few safety tips for new and experienced archers before heading out.
The general archery buck deer and elk hunt, along with eight other archery hunts, begins Saturday, Aug. 16.
Hunter Education coordinator Kirk Smith said in a press release sent to the Clipper he receives a number of reports about archery hunters injuring themselves or others every year because they aren’t hunting safely during the initial season.
“Most of the accidents are caused by archers doing one of two things,” he said, which are “not being safe in tree stands or having arrows out of their quiver before they’re ready to shoot.”
Smith said the following rules can help ensure a safe hunt and are critical to know before heading out.
Those hunting from a tree stand need to make sure the tree is large enough to support all of a hunter’s weight. To prevent injury while climbing, be sure to attach all hunting equipment via harness or other device before climbing. “Don’t climb the tree unless you’re certain it’ll hold your weight,” Smith said. “Once you reach the stand, attach your safety harness to your final location, then use your haul line to lift your gear to you.”
Regarding tree stands, Smith said the best idea is never to build a permanent one, but rather, use a portable one instead.
Permanent tree stands have more of an opportunity to deteriorate over time, whereas a portable one is more feasible for year-to-year use.
“Over time tree stands can cause damage to the tree simply by hammering nails into them,” Smith said. “They can also become very unstable and unsafe, and they clutter up the natural landscape as well.”
Hunters who end up in a unit managed by the Bureau of Land Management, or those hunting in a national forest, should know that using a permanent tree stand is also illegal.
The second safety tip offered by Smith is to make sure to keep all arrows in a quiver until you’re ready to shoot.
The most common accidents, he said, happen when archers accidently jab themselves or others while carrying arrows in their hands.
State law requires that arrows be kept in a case while the arrows are in or on a vehicle.
“Until you’re ready to shoot, keep the arrows in a quiver,” he said.
Other tips offered mostly involve being properly prepared for archery hunting.
Most of the tips offered covered proper preparation techniques such as doing equipment checks, sharpening broadheads, practice shooting at targets knowing the boundaries of the hunting area and making sure to obtain written permission from a private landowner before hunting on the property.
If hunters haven’t already, they should also take a bowhunter education course offered by DWR.
To learn more about the class or to sign up visit wildlife.utah.gov/huntereducation.