Aside from exploring the good places for fly fishing, hunting in some fresh and saltwater in the United States as well as other parts of the world keep me busy during my day offs. What made me love these activities? First, they offer me an unexplainable extraordinary experience. Second, they are both safe.
What? Yes, you heard it right.
While many think that hunting is a dangerous activity, many claims that it is safer than golf and other forms of recreation or sports. I can certainly attest to that!
Best Practices When Hunting From A Boat
1. Check your equipment
Check every single item, from your boat to your clothes. Make sure that your anchor rope, oars, and motor are all in good condition. Test your lifejackets and PFDs before you venture on the water to make sure that these materials keep their buoyancy. Select the right size of motor or boat for your group.
2. Know and appropriately use your boat
The most common types of boats hunters use are punts, canoes, flat-bottom, and sneaker boats which are all prone to capsizing. Understand the features and characteristics of your boat.
More importantly, determine if your boat will stay afloat when you fill it with water or when it flips. When this happens, stay with the capsized boat especially if you cannot swim to the shores.
3. Avoid overloading
The weight distribution of a vessel determines if it will be safe from capsizing. Know the extent that your boat is capable of holding and pack smart by not loading too many materials or gears on your boat. Always make sure your boat can move and transport you safely especially if you are using a flat-bottomed boat as this type of boat tips over easily.
4. Wear PFDs and life-saving jackets
Not wearing of PFD or Personal flotation device and lifejackets can be one of the most common causes of fatal accidents when hunting from a boat. Having these pieces of equipment is compulsory in almost all instances even when it is hot, and each person on the vessel must secure these gears as emergency situations can arise at any time or any circumstance.
Also, PFDs need to be present when there are signs of adverse weather when hunting from a boat in unfamiliar bodies of water when there is reduced visibility, and when hunting alone. Always make sure that these gears fit you correctly when you wear them.
5. Observe local weather conditions
Before venturing on water, check the news or consult your local weather application if there are chances of weather turning bad. Many hunters suggest that there are great opportunities of landing target animals when the weather is rough. Just make sure that the condition is not too bad that you compromise your safety.
6. Avoid drinking any alcoholic beverages or use drugs
These substances affect both your physical and mental responses by slowing them down thus preventing you from making quick judgments when unexpected troubles occur. Alcohol increases the chances of drowning and hypothermia (abnormally low body temperature) as it raises the body’s heat loss.
Also, they interrupt one’s ability to recognize easily possible dangerous situations which, an ability which is extremely necessary when hunting.Consumption of alcohol while hunting is often illegal.
7. Determine when it is firing time
The general rule is to make sure that your boat is already anchored and still before firing. This rule applies to any instances regardless of what weapon you are using. Sitting is the best position when shooting as it keeps the boat’s balance, so if you don’t, you are preparing your boat to capsize.
If you are with another hunter, doing a back-to-back position with him is the safest. It is also better that you agree on your zones of fire. Know what is behind your target before giving it a shot.
8. Always secure a Hunting license
This piece of material keeps you from troubles or hassles of getting penalized. Aside from a validated fishing license, please make sure that you are also aware of the local rules that apply to your fishing or hunting area, so might as well not violate them.
Keep this thing in your pocket or anywhere in your body,.If you are fishing, it is also mandatory to also learn the fishing laws of your local government.This tip is essential in avoiding any form of legal problems.
9. Wear the right clothes
Extreme cold immersion can be as deadly as drowning and gunshots, so make sure to wear the most suitable wardrobe according to the weather. While practicing proper safety measures when choosing and wearing your hunting clothes, please make sure that the clothes you are using do not excessively or undesirably restrict your movement.
Look for and wear clothes that you can swim in and, if possible, choose clothing that you can quickly take off if in case you fall. Never use waders.
10. Know how to swim
This tip can be the most basic of the basics, yet many boaters may agree that swimming is the single most important skill a boater must possess. Learning the traditional way on how to swim is not enough when you are hunting from a boat. You must also learn how to swim with clothes on.
When swimming, remember to go near the shores and stay away from areas where there is heavy boating. It is also better if you attach a life ring to the boat by tying a line to it. You can also use a type IV throwable device in case someone has gone underboard and struggled to swim.
When hunting from a boat, this tip is of enormous importance as it determines the thin line between saving your life and not.
11. Bring a trained dog
For hunters, this animal is not just a man’s best friend. A trained dog is also one of their biggest assets. Please remember that a good ground hunting dog does not necessarily mean that they can also do well in the water, so please bring one that is prepared to ride a boat.
While most dogs know how to swim, it is safer to get a floatable boat for them too; this is also important since cold water can cause their muscles to cramp. Before bringing one, make sure also that you train it enough to follow your commands especially in the case of emergency. Taking one with you regularly also build trust and connection with your dog.
12. Avoid hunting alone
Having a companion does not only kill boredom. It is also essential as other hunters can also serve as your extra eyes when there are unexpected and threatening events.
Did this article help you learn new ways to hunt efficiently and protect yourself as well?
While I have introduced some of the ways that you can do to have peace of mind when hunting, it is still necessary to be-be extra vigilant as oceans, and any body of water can pose uncontrollable disasters when exploring them.
For this reason, local governments and states currently give more attention to new laws about hunting and fishing, from fishing boat proceeds to safe hunting policies, and we simply cannot blame them as they care for our safety and protection.
My hope is that you apply the simple and quick tips that I just mentioned, so you might as well experience a more enjoyable hunting adventure.
If you enjoy or learn new things with this article, please feel free to give your insights by leaving a comment below, or you can also share this with your friends.