-By Rich Miller
Whether it is driving a tractor to prepare food plots, clearing shooting lanes with a chain saw, or hanging tree stands, this is the time of year when hunters are in the woods every spare minute that they have. For most of us, when we are at work at our regular jobs there are signs on every wall, or a person whose sole purpose is to remind us to keep safety first. While we are at our hunting club or lease there isn’t always a person or a sign on every tree to remind us to keep safety in mind while we perform these activities.
As I get older I think about these things more and more. With hunting season just around the corner we don’t want an accident to keep us from doing what we love doing. Most everyone wears their safety harness while hunting in a tree stand but we need to wear it when we are hanging them also. To me there is more chance of falling while hanging stands than any other time.. Personally I wear a Summit harness and it has a climbing belt incorporated into the harness. This keeps me secured to the tree while putting up steps and putting the stand in place. I am sure there are other good harnesses on the market and it doesn’t matter which one you use as long as you are using one.
Since I was in the military protecting my eyes and hearing was something that was drilled into me, and I have been doing it no matter what my activities. Whether I am riding a tractor, running a chainsaw, or shooting I always wear my ear plugs or muffs and my safety glasses. I still want to be able to hear turkeys gobbling in the spring or a deer walking in the leaves during the fall when I am an old man. Not to mention, it would make it tough to hunt if you couldn’t see.
A tractor can also be dangerous in many different ways. I have to haul my tractor a lot this time of year and my rule while loading and unloading it is to take my time. Like anything else when we get in a hurry that is when things seem to go wrong. It is the same way while changing implements on the back of the tractor. Make sure the tractor is powered down when a person is working behind the tractor. Most tractors have a seat belt and it needs to be used. A lot of the work that we tend to do on our hunting clubs is in tall weeds and places that we haven’t been on a tractor before. Walking these places before hand is a good practice to make sure there are no foreign objects, or ditches or holes that can be a potential hazard.
In the past I have been as negligent as anyone when it came to my safety in the field, but the older I get I think more about it more than I ever have. It could only take a second to ruin a whole hunting season or worse. No matter what I am doing I try to stop, think, and just take my time because none of the things that I am doing are more important than getting home safely to my wife and son.