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Ten “common sense” safety tips to avoid hunting accidents

Hunting is a very popular sport in South Africa and for many it is a way of life. However the presence of firearms means there is always a chance of accidents that can end in disaster and legal trouble. 

Firearms Guardian is aware of the dangers associated with hunting and provides hunters with the following safety tips: 

  • It is of utmost importance to familiarise yourself with firearms before going on a hunt:
    • Always treat every firearm as if it’s loaded and ready to go off at any time. 
    • Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, away from people and property.
    • Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to take a shot.
    • Know how your firearm works and practise safe handling.
  • Always remember to use the right ammunition:
    • Only use ammunition that is designed for your specific firearm.
    • Never mix ammunition or use damaged and corroded cartridges.
  • Wear high-visibility clothing at all times:
    • Wear blaze orange or other high-visibility clothing to make yourself more visible to other hunters.
    • Avoid wearing colours that mimic game animals, such as brown or white.
  • Identify your target very carefully before taking a shot:
    • Positively identify your target and what lies behind it before shooting.
    • Ensure that you are shooting at a legal game animal .
    • Always maintain safe distances from your fellow hunters.
    • Communicate clearly with fellow hunters and know their locations at all times.
  • Inform your fellow hunters of your plan(s):
    • Let everyone in your party know your hunting plans, including where you’ll be and when you plan to return.
    • Carry a cell phone or a  two-way radio for communication in case of emergencies.
  • Be aware of the weather conditions before starting your hunt:
    • Dress appropriately for the weather, and be prepared for changing conditions.
    • Avoid hunting during  severe weather conditions, such as rain or fog that can severely impair visibility. 
  • Always stay sober and alert:
    • Do not consume alcohol or drugs before or during hunting.
    • Fatigue can also impair judgement and reaction time, so ensure you get rest.
  • Respect any and all regulations:
    • Familiarise yourself with all hunting laws, regulations, and property boundaries in your area.
    • Obtain any required permits and licences.
  • Familiarise yourself with first aid and emergency kits:
    • Carry a basic first aid kit and emergency supplies, including water, a torch, a map, and a compass or GPS device.
  • Practise firearm safety at home:
    • Safely store firearms and ammunition in a secure location, away from children and unauthorised users.

Remember, safety should always be your top priority while hunting. Following these tips can mean the difference between an enjoyable weekend with friends and family or a life changing disaster. However freak accidents do happen, even when all of the aforementioned safety precautions are followed. See the example below as a precautionary tale.

Pieter Swanepoel, a keen and skilled hunter, went hunting for game with his friends last year when a freak accident occurred. After he killed a deer, the group of hunters drove toward the carcass in their bakkie to retrieve it. When Swanepoel jumped out of the vehicle he slipped and fell and accidentally fired a shot into the bakkie causing significant damage to his friend’s vehicle. 

This is where we step in. Firearms Guardian’s team of brilliant lawyers will provide you with the best legal advice money can buy if you find yourself in such an unfortunate incident and will represent you in a court of law.

Learn more:

The Firearms Guardian policy is administered by Insuresense Consultants (Pty) Ltd (FSP47115), an authorised Financial Services Provider and underwritten by GENRIC Insurance Company Limited (FSP43638), an authorised Financial Services Provider and licensed non-life Insurer.