From safe shooting to cell phones, do it right

A few good, solid habits can make a world of difference

Merced (Calif.) Sun-StarJune 20, 2012 

SPORTS OTD-GERMANHUNTER 2 WI

German native Bernd zur Nedden gets ready to shoot a pheasant at Ringneck Ranch in Mitchell County, Kansas. (Michael Pearce/Wichita Eagle/MCT)

MICHAEL PEARCE — Wichita Eagle/MCT

In the world of hunting, there are a lot of written rules that have much to say about what you can’t do out in the field.

There are also a lot of unwritten rules that dictate what you shouldn’t do.

Though you might not find them in any hunting handbooks, experienced hunters can pass along suggestions that’ll keep you safe and ethical on your excursions. Here’s a list of 10 “don’ts” outdoorsmen should keep in mind.

10. Don’t always take the first shot.

Whether you’re hunting waterfowl or upland birds, it’s common courtesy to set up a shooting system with buddies. Hunters can rotate or pick a region to shoot (left, right, middle). Just don’t let your trigger finger get too itchy.

9. Don’t let someone else do all the dirty work.

This goes for gutting and cleaning fish, birds and big game. But it also applies to other duties, such as cooking, cleaning and packing. Everyone doing their share makes those chores a whole lot easier.

8. Don’t cross across another hunter’s path when pheasant hunting.

When you’re on a hunt, it’s inevitable that you’re going to encounter others. It’s important to know how to handle yourself when that happens. Not only is it rude to interfere with someone’s hunt, it can also be dangerous to get in someone’s shooting lane.

7. Don’t intrude on another hunter’s spot.

Cozying up next to another hunter while duck or goose hunting won’t win you many friends, and neither will encroaching on a big-game hunter who’s found a spot. It’s a big countryside – leave room.

6. Don’t wear red while turkey hunting

The red resembles the wattle of a tom turkey, and unknowing hunters take shots without thoroughly realizing what they’re pulling down on. Only camouflage should be worn when turkey hunting.

5. Don’t oversleep.

After weeks of planning and preparation, don’t disappoint your hunting partner by oversleeping. Set as many alarms as you need to wake up.

4. Don’t trespass on others’ property.

Most hunters know not to venture onto others’ property, but it can happen by accident sometimes. The point is, if you don’t fully understand the lay of the land where you’re hunting, hunt somewhere else.

3. Don’t text while hunting.

This one may surprise a lot of people. It’s definitely a new-age issue, but one that’s becoming more prevalent among younger hunters.

2. Don’t shoot at sounds.

This is the other side of the “don’t wear red while turkey hunting.” It’s one of the basics of hunting – don’t take a shot unless you know what you’re shooting at.

1. Don’t leave a wounded animal.

If you have enough time to go on a hunt, you have enough time to follow your shot. Leaving a wounded animal is never an option.

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