Good Mates, Good Hunting
80% of mis-identified target hunting incidents were from the same hunting party. By making a plan and smart decisions in the bush, you and your mates can help reduce the risk of an irreversible mistake.
Here are a few key ways you and your hunting party can work together and make it home safely.
Identify your target beyond all doubt
- Assume any sound or movement is another person until you are absolutely sure it’s not
- Take the time to look at your target and keep your hands away from the trigger
- An animal isn’t properly identified until you know it’s sex, age, condition and have seen most of it.
Plan together — make sure everyone understands what you are doing and where you are going for the hunt.
- Before you go, look over maps of the area. Identify potential hazards, bluffs, gullies you will be in, and river crossings. Plan out your camp sites and decide on hunting areas.
- Establish a backup plan — river rise, poor weather, injury, no deer — prepare for how you will all get home and let someone know if something changes. Everyone in your party needs to know the plan!
- Make sure you are all comfortable with the plan each day. Talk about it the night before over tea. Confirm in the morning.
Communicate — make sure everyone is on the same page
- Let others know the load state of your rifle, regular checks are an essential and simple habit
- Feeling buggered? Not comfortable? Let the others know, it’s okay to turn back. Tell others if they are not being safe, or you aren’t okay with certain routes
- Changing the plan, going up another gully? Tell everyone in your hunting party. Radios and regular meet-ups are essential for daily comms
- Communicate with your loved ones at home or the people to get you out in an emergency — bring an outdoor communication device.
Help others see you — wear blaze gear to help other hunters see you
- Put blaze over animals you are carrying for extra visibility
- Make sure your blaze is clean and unfaded so it stands out more
Choose one shooter in your group — reduce the risk of a misID
- Assigning roles and goals each day ensures everyone gets a crack
- Help to spot, call, navigate etc. A team approach can be successful and fun.
- Keep your shooter at the front and communicate your movements with each other.
Make time to recharge — regular breaks are essential to help you last
- Fatigue can lead to poor decisions and lower diligence in safety
- Use these times for a snack, drink, regroup on the plan and refresh your minds
- Always unload when you sit down and check again when you set off. Hear a stag? Don’t lose track of who is on point and where everyone is before considering pursuing.
You’re never alone — thousands of hunters and people are out there
- Remember that other outdoor users will see you as representing all hunters
- Remember to secure your firearms after the hunt, before you drive or have a drink
Help others prepare for the roar and share the video version too