Now that hunting season is heating up, everyone who is out in the woods should take care to remember safety guidelines while hunting including firearm safety and awareness of the law.
Cam Hill is an instructor for the CORE Hunter Training course, a requirement to obtain a hunting license in B.C.
Hill gave out several tips for hunters gearing up for the hunting season. Including an important one, firearm safety.
The basic things are to treat every firearm as though it’s loaded. Control the muzzle at all times and keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to discharge the firearm. As well, ensure that your firearm is safe and proven.
“Those are the four that CORE teaches. Firearms safety is a big one and as a conservation officer I’ve seen it before, I’ve checked vehicles where there’s been holes shot through the door. Somebody obviously had a loaded firearm in their vehicle. That’s a big one too, it’s against the law to have a loaded firearm in your vehicle.”
A violation ticket for a loaded firearm in a vehicle runs $230 and that goes for any vehicle including ATVs.
In the bush, one of the biggest problems that Hill has to deal with is the use of alcohol and drugs when on a hunt. Drug and alcohol violations don’t work like RCMP drinking and driving violations, it is up to the conservation officer as to whether he will ticket the guilty party or not.
“Anytime that people are out there with firearms they need to refrain from consuming any alcohol or drugs. Believe it or not we do see that a lot. Guys are going out hunting for the day and they’ve got a bottle of beer beside them, its a hunting violation and we will charge them for that.”
Hunters could lose their firearms or their license if they’re caught under the influence while hunting.
“You know a lot of the problems that I see. Where animals are mistakenly killed, or there’s injuries or whatever are the result of impairment. That’s a message I really want to get across, don’t drink and hunt.”
If you do harvest an animal, hunters should make sure that it has expired. Approach it from behind and nudge it to be sure.
Hill mentioned that he had seen an individual in Quesnel seriously injured last year. He’d shot a moose and it wasn’t dead so when he approached it the moose jumped up and attacked him.
“It almost killed the fellow,” said Hill. “It broke his jaw and put him in the hospital for a long time.”
As well as staying safe around the local wildlife, hunters should remember the key to wilderness survival. If something goes wrong, someone should know where you are or where you are going. Always let someone know before you leave, even if you’re familiar with the area.
“The Search and Rescue get a lot of calls from wives and parents and stuff their partners or kids haven’t come back and the natural tendency is to think they’re in trouble. They’re usually just stuck or they’ve broken down but its just a good idea to let someone know where you’re going and when you’re coming back.”
Some things to have prepared before the hunt begins is to have a map of the area, a first aid kit, and maybe a GPS or compass.
With these safety tips in mind, hunters should be well prepared for the season ahead. To learn more the CORE course will be running near the end of September and going into the beginning of October at the CNC Vanderhoof campus.
The Canadian Firearms Safety Course is also running at CNC near the end of October and again in the third week of November.