No matter what prey you hunt, keeping your gear safely maintained and well protected when not in use is as important as safe engagement when in the wild. The U.S. and Canada report over 1,000 hunting accidents per year according to the International Hunter Education Association, with many mishaps avoidable with proper care of your hunting arsenal. By following common-sense safety measures when storing hunting gear either at home or on the road, accidents can be minimized beginning with the first credo of removing any firing device from storage: always handle guns as if they were loaded.
Safe Hunting Storage At Home
While many hunters isolate a closet, basement or garage area for gear storage, the safest place is in a locking garden storage shed that prevents unsuspecting family members, children or workers from accidentally stumbling on your cache. Cleaning and breaking down all working parts of your guns for storage, including swabbing the barrel with bore solvent to remove residue, will help keep weapons in proper working condition and prevent misfire-related accidents when next in use. In addition, securely storing guns barrel-up in a rack and investing in a climate-controlled system will help prevent damage or warping to your firearms.
Protecting The Gear On Your Back
It’s important that your hunting clothes don’t pick up any extra scents in the off-season so they’re ready for the woods come springtime. When you wash your hunting garb use baking soda or scent-eliminating detergents rather than a regular detergent and thoroughly air dry all garments to avoid dryer scents. Then place the dry clothes in a scent-free bag or plastic storage bin with natural-smelling scent wafers or cedar chips placed in vented plastic bags to be stored safely away from gas odors and the destructive intrusion of rodents or insects.
On The Road With Hunting Weapons
In many states, it’s now the law that firearms be unloaded and firmly encased before transporting them. The safest travel trick is keeping guns broken down until getting to the hunting site to assure safety in the case of an unforeseen traffic accident which could activate a loose, loaded weapon. In addition, place all firearms in a ceiling-mounted or concealed back seat travel rack to prevent accidental discharge or entice thieves who see your gear openly displayed.
Using trigger locks and chamber blocks as extra safety precautions is another level of security. No matter what you’re riding in or on – be it a horse, ATV, snowmobile or truck – always make sure knives and arrows are sheathed, and any firearm is unloaded with the safety on before it’s secured in a case or gun rack.
Hunting is a rich and rewarding sport that naturally comes with its share of potential danger. Minimizing weapon mishaps means adhering to specific safety precautions both during the hunt and when the guns are stowed between adventures. Maintaining smart storage practices will keep all your hunting gear safe and ready for the upcoming season and for many seasons to come.