For those venturing out on the first day of firearm hunting season Sunday, where you shoot from is as important to safety as the weapons of choice.
According to George F. Johnson IV, superintendent colonel for the Department of Natural Resources, "tree-stand incidents account for most hunting accidents."
Johnson and others suggest hunters use a full-body safety harness to keep them tethered to the tree. Broken or worn equipment should be replaced or fixed before hunters climb into the stand.
In terms of the weapons being used, here is a list of safety tips provided by the DNR:
Never point a weapon unless you intend to shoot at your target — treat every gun as if it is loaded.
Identify the target and make sure nobody is in the vicinity of the target when you are ready to shoot.
Wear the proper hunting garb, including a flourescent cap or outer garment containing 250 square inches of a flourescent orange color. Even if you are accompanying a hunter, you need to be dressed accordingly.
In terms of following the laws, here are a few to pay attention to:
You cannot have a loaded weapon in a vehicle, including ammunition that is in a magazine or a chamber.
You cannot shoot or hunt from or across a driveway.
If you are within 150 yards of a residence, campground or other building, you are prohibited from hunting without advance permission of the owner or occupant.
You must receive written permission from the landowner before hunting on private property.
When removing the deer from where it has been killed, you must fill out a field tag and attach it to the deer, and it might be recorded on the hunter's Big Game Harvest Record.
Hunters must check the deer in via the Internet (gamecheck.dnr.state.med.us) within 24 hours of tagging it or call the Big Game Registration phone line at 888-800-0120. The confirmation number the hunter receives must also be entered onto the Big Game Harvest Record.
Those who suspect poaching are encouraged to call the DNR Police Communication Center at 800-628-9944