Little Rock — Arkansas’ cool season offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, whether hunting, camping or riding an all-terrain vehicle. While enjoying these activities in natural conditions, it is important to follow safety guidelines to avoid accidents and injuries.
Jesse Bocksnick, Extension 4-H Outdoor Skills Coordinator at the University of Arkansas School of Systems Agriculture, says operating guns and ATVs safely minimizes the risk of accidents.
“Accidents happen. You can’t always be 100 percent safe,” says Boxnick. “But the important thing is to practice proper and safe ATV operation and safe gun handling so that when an accident does occur, it can be minimized. It’s a horror, not a tragic story that we’ll talk about as an educational tool in a few years.”
proper firearm handling
Bocksnick says three factors are important when it comes to safe gun handling. Muzzle Control, Action Open, and Trigger Control.
The muzzle is the part of the firearm through which the bullet exits the gun. By always pointing the muzzle in a safe direction, you can prevent accidents or minimize the damage caused by accidents.
“Every year someone seems to get hurt with an ’empty gun’ because they think it’s unloaded,” Boxnick said.
A gun’s action is the part where ammunition enters the chamber and is ejected when the gun is fired. By leaving the action open, the user indicates to others that the gun is unloaded until it’s time to fire.
“Once that action is closed, no one knows if there is a bullet in the chamber,” Boxnick said. “We just assume it’s loaded. We assume all guns are loaded all the time – that’s to keep things safer.”
Trigger control means “keep your finger off the trigger until the target is in sight”.
“Many people, especially young people, when handed a gun, first wrap their hand around the grip and put their finger on the trigger,” Boxnick said. “We don’t want to do that.”
Boxnick says honing safety skills is important for adults excited about introducing young people to the sport of hunting and shooting.
“People are usually excited about training young people and sending them out into the world,” he said. But sometimes they have dangerous habits or don’t realize how dangerous it really is to own a gun. may skip or take basic firearm maneuvers for granted.”
When training youngsters on proper firearm handling, Boxnick said another problem is handing firearms to youngsters too early.
“If you can’t physically do the action, hold the gun, handle the recoil, they’re too small,” he said. I see a lot of parents rushing their kids too far, they want to make themselves hunting buddies, so they put too much responsibility on their age.”
ATV and UTV safety
Riding an ATV, UTV, or all-terrain work vehicle is a fun way to explore the outdoors. However, if not handled safely, these vehicles can be very dangerous to riders.
Boxnick said that for ATVs and UTVs, “the most important thing to remember is to wear a helmet.”
“It’s the most important piece of safety equipment a person can wear, whether they’re adults or young people,” he said. “Must be a Department of Transportation approved helmet.”
Boxnick said it’s also important to follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended age.
“Most ATVs and UTVs are 16+,” Boxnick said. “Just because a young man can steer a machine or push the throttle doesn’t mean he can drive it. must be used to properly mount and operate the machine. In a UTV, if youngsters can’t sit properly with their backs in the seat and they buckle up and can’t reach all the controls, they are too young. ”
Bocksnick said a common misconception about UTVs is that they are child safe because they have roll bars or rollover protection structures. However, for these protective measures to work, seat belts and harness systems must be worn and used.
“Unfortunately, ATV and UTV accidents are the leading cause of head injuries, deaths and serious injuries among young people in this state,” Boxnick said. “When young people aren’t old enough to ride in machines, don’t wear helmets, or aren’t carrying passengers on ATVs, the problem increases exponentially.”
Hunting and campfire safety
During the hunting season, many people are injured on deer stands. Becky McPeak, extension professor at the School of Agriculture and wildlife expert, said it’s important to scout out suitable deer stand locations before hunting.
“Find a tree that is strong enough to support your weight,” McPeak said. “The diameter of the tree closest to the opening may be small, and you may be tempted to use that tree, but don’t use it. Rest assured.”
Good condition is also key to successfully navigating deer stands, McPeake said, as it takes physical strength to enter and exit deer stands.
“Groundhunting is safe if you have physical limitations,” she said. “You can make your own blinds using natural features, or you can buy tent girlfriend blinds.”
Wearing a harness is also an “essential safety feature” for those using deer stands, McPeake said.
“Using a climbing rope, climb a little higher than the stand and slide into the stand,” she said. “Then, use ropes to lift and lower the supplies and unloaded firearms, and pin yourself to the tree in place.”
Get plenty of rest while in the deer stand, stay awake, and let others know when you’re out hunting.
“Tell family and friends when you’re going hunting and when you plan to return,” McPeak said. “Leave them a map of where to hunt, as cellular service may not work in remote areas.”
When hunting, camping, or simply spending time in your backyard, you should also follow campfire safety guidelines to avoid injury and uncontrolled fires. Creenna Bocksnick, her coordinator for Extension 4-H Camps in the Agriculture Department, said the first step to a safe campfire is to check fire regulations in her area.
“In some locations, open fires are not permitted and seasonal burn bans must also be considered,” Boxnick said. General fire safety concerns such as keeping away from fire and not leaning or straddling fire should also be remembered.”
Boxnick said people should also be very aware of their surroundings for other potential fire hazards. Before I knew it, I was on fire. ”
People who camp in wilderness environments should also aim to leave no trace of their presence at the campsite after they leave.
“Campers have to build, extinguish, and cover the wreckage of the fire so the next person doesn’t know they were there,” Boxnick said. Don’t put anything in the fire that doesn’t turn into ashes.”
For more information about the 4-H Shooting Sports program and Arkansas 4-H ATV safety, please visit the Arkansas 4-H Outdoor Skills website or contact Jesse Bocksnick at firstname.lastname@example.org.