Tips to avoid injury and prepare for a safe, successful bowhunt this fall – ETV News | Gmx Pharm

DWR press release

The General Season Stag Bow Hunt and the Spike and Any Bull Elk General Bow Hunts are the first big game hunts of the fall season in Utah and they all begin Saturday, August 20th. If you’re bow-hunting this fall, then there are several ways you can prepare for the hunt and stay safe along the way.

While bowhunting does not involve firearms, it does present some unique risks that hunters should be aware of.

“Each year we receive reports of hunters being injured by falling from trees or stabbing themselves or other hunters while carrying arrows,” said RaLynne Takeda, director of the Hunter Education Program for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources .


With a little knowledge and preparation, staying safe while hunting is easy. Here are some general bowhunting safety tips:

tree stand protection

Before placing a portable tree stand in a tree, be sure to check the weight rating of the stand. Make sure it can support your weight as well as the weight of your gear.

“Hunters sometimes forget to consider the weight of their gear,” Takeda said. “If the combined weight of your body and gear is greater than the weight the stand can support, it could easily collapse, throwing you and your gear to the ground.”

Another risk is falling while climbing the tree, or falling from your stance once you reach it.

“Before you start climbing, attach a safety harness (also called a fall arrest system) to yourself and the tree,” Takeda said. “Fix it until you’re back on the ground.”

Another risk is trying to take your gear with you when you climb the tree. Hunters shouldn’t try this. Instead, attach a towline to your gear and leave plenty of slack in the line. Then attach your safety harness to the tree and begin to climb, holding the tether in one hand or clipped to your belt. After you’re on your stance, use your haul line to hoist your gear towards you.

Hunters should keep in mind that it is illegal to establish a stand of trees on land managed by the US Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management. Only portable stands may be used in these areas.

Don’t leave your arrows uncovered

Broadhead arrows are extremely sharp, so carrying one in your hand or putting one in your bow before you’re ready to shoot is a risk. Hunters should not remove arrows from their quivers until it is time to shoot.

“It only takes a few seconds to take an arrow from a quiver, nock the arrow, and shoot it,” Takeda said. “The few seconds you save by carrying arrows in your hand or nocking on your bow aren’t worth it.”

Know your goal

Never shoot a deer or moose that is beyond the maximum range that you can comfortably shoot. Also, before releasing your arrow, make sure of your target and what’s behind it.

“Arrows, especially carbon arrows, can hit with great force at distances of up to 100 meters from the launch point,” Takeda said. “You must know what is behind your target and be careful never to shoot at a road in the background.”

“We address and take very seriously any violations that may affect the safety of the public in the field and affect the overall quality of the hunting experience,” said DWR Law Enforcement Capt. Chad Bettridge. “Many of these violations include things like leaving a loaded gun or unflapping darts in a vehicle, not using a helmet while driving an ATV, driving off-road, and driving under the influence of alcohol.”


There are also some things that archers should know and practice before heading into the field. Here are some basic tips to prepare:

Check your equipment. Make sure the laminations on your bow aren’t peeling or separating, and make sure the strings on your bow aren’t fraying. If you have a compound bow, make sure the pulleys and cables are in good condition. Also make sure that your arrow’s toothing (the stiffness of the arrow shaft) matches the draw weight of your bow. If the draw weight of your bow creates more force than your arrow can handle, your arrow could fly off target or even splinter or break when you let go.

Sharpen your broadhead arrows. When sharpening your broadheads, take your time and be careful. Your broadheads need to be razor sharp before you head out into the field. But be careful not to cut yourself while sharpening.

Practice shooting as much as possible. Use the same broadheads you use while hunting so that you become familiar with them. The DWR has two public shooting ranges that are great for pre-hunt practice.

get permission. You must obtain written permission from private landowners before hunting on their property or using their property to access public lands. If you cannot obtain written permission, find another access point to your hunting unit.

know the limits Explore ahead of time and familiarize yourself with the area you will be hunting. Make sure you know the boundaries of nearby restricted access units and other restricted lands in the area. When hunting near private property or along the hunting unit boundary, do not enter these areas to retrieve an animal without proper permission from the landowner or the assistance of a conservation officer.

Be careful in popular outdoor areas and obey all laws. Make sure that you clearly exceed the minimum distances that you have to keep to roads and residential buildings. Many local communities have restrictions on the surrender of firearms or the use of archery equipment within city limits. Please know and understand these limitations. If you hunt in Salt Lake County, be aware that the county’s hunting restrictions are more restrictive than those in the rest of Utah. Familiarize yourself with where you can and cannot hunt before heading into the field.

Take the DWR Bow Hunter Training Course. Although you are not required to complete this course for bowhunting in Utah, it is a helpful resource for novice and experienced hunters alike. It teaches bowhunting safety, ethics, hunting methods and more. You can take the course online or in an instructor-led course. Find out more about the course and register on the DWR website.

Visit the Utah Hunt Planner. This free, useful resource includes notes from the biologist managing the unit you’ll be hunting, general information about the unit, and security and weather information to be aware of for your specific area. Information about the number of bucks on the device versus the number on the can is also listed. You’ll also find maps showing the boundaries of the unit, what land is public and private, and the different types of habitats found on the unit. You can find the hunt planner page on the DWR website.

Know what to do once you’ve taken a shot. Observe the animal and determine the direction it went. Then go to where you last saw the animal and find your arrow. If there is blood on it and you have a compass, use the direction the animal went as a guide. Then wait 30 minutes before tracking it. If you chase the animal too soon, you can scare it into running. If you wait at least 30 minutes before chasing it, most of the deer and moose you shoot will be found dead a reasonable distance from where you started, saving you a lot of time and walking.

track the animal. When tracking an animal, look for blood not only on the ground but also on the brush. If you start to lose track of the animal, tie a piece of biodegradable marking tape near the last bloodstain. Then look for the animal’s track by going out of the tape in a circular pattern. The tape acts as a marker letting you know where you started. Also, putting duct tape on the last three or four spots of blood you see and then standing by the duct tape and looking at the trail can help you visualize the direction the animal went.

find the animal Once you find the shot animal, check if its eyes are open. If not, the animal is probably not dead. If its eyes are open, touch one of the eyes with a long stick. If the animal is still alive, touching one of its eyes with a long stick will keep you out of harm’s way and alert you that it’s still alive. Once the animal is dead, dress and refrigerate the meat immediately. During autumn bowhunting, temperatures are typically warm, which can result in meat spoiling quickly.

Find out about fire restrictions beforehand. Check if bonfires are allowed in the area where you will be hunting. Due to the extreme drought, campfires are not allowed on many public spaces this year. If campfires are allowed and you use one, make sure it’s completely extinguished before leaving. Pour water on the fire, stir, add more water and stir again until cold to the touch. If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave. Visit the Utah Fire Sense website for more tips.

Find out about planned mandatory burns in your hunting unit. If your hunting unit includes land managed by the US Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management, be aware that these agencies will occasionally mandate fires in an area to reduce wildfire risk and improve habitat . Sometimes these mandatory burns can occur during a hunting season. Check with the relevant state authority in advance to see if there may be a mandatory cremation on your hunting unit.

Familiarize yourself with the rules in the Big Game Field Regulations Guidebook. Make sure you are familiar with all the rules before going hunting. You can obtain a free copy of the 2022 Utah Big Game Field Regulations Guidebook from the DWR website.

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