As a hunter, you will never want to limit yourself from the land hunting, knowing that you can even hunt from a boat. It is – of course, more challenging, but you can have a unique perspective of the preys from another view. However, do not start the game without understanding what safety precaution should you take when hunting from a boat.
PLEASE REMEMBER: Hunting in a water body is way-interesting, but it can also expose you to its risks. Even the most successful hunters on the land can fail when it comes to huntings from a boat.
Possible Risks from Boat Hunting
You should pay attention now.
About one-third of accidents related to boats involved in the attempt to catch fish or hunt. In which quite many hunters and anglers are exposed to injuries and even death from aquatic accidents such as drowning, cold water shock, and even gunshot wounds.
Imagine that the boat might fall overboard while you are standing up to aim, cast a line, or reach for a decoy.
You might take too much stuff or people on your boat and expose yourself to the risk of capsizing.
Choosing an unstable boat like the flat-bottom or paddle-craft one can also be dangerous.
Anglers and hunters often use flat-bottom boats and paddle crafts to drift into their hunting or fishing areas quietly. These smaller types tend to be unstable and more likely to capsize than more extensive types of motorboats.
If you plan to hunt from your boat, you must recognize the following accident risks that are unique to those sports:
Hunting from a Boat Laws
To start with, you need to understand the laws and regulations in your area for hunters and anglers who hunt fish, deers, ducks, etc. on boats.
Boat hunting education by the GMA
Here come some requirements by the Game Management Authority (GMA) – a game hunting statutory authority in Victoria.
Firstly, it is required to use the boat of which the speed is at least five knots on waterways, while you are not allowed to drive the motored boat on an open water body like dams, lakes, and swamps.
Secondly, you need a license to use a boat with an engine. To have one, you need to take a computerized knowledge test of basic knowledge of boat safety operation and waterway rules.
More importantly, you must follow 12 steps to guarantee the boat safety.
- Know your boat well, in specific, the characteristics of the ship and how you operate it.
- Check the weather conditions in advance. Avoid rough weather and a large body of water.
- Ensure that your physical health is good enough so that you will not become fatigued with lots of tasks in terms of hunting on the boat.
- Never use alcohol or drugs before and while you are on the boat.
- Only brings what is truly essential for your hunting games. Also, consider the total weight of the firearms, safety gears, decoys, the trained hunting dog, etc. to get a suitable boat.
- Put on the clothing that you can swim and float with it. However, the cloth should still warm enough to prevent cold water shock.
- Never take part in hunting on a boat if you are not able to swim.
- Always wear Personal Flotation Device (PFD) or a life-jacket.
- Never go hunting alone.
- Plan for the worst situation so that you can calm and have a solution upon sudden changes in weather or other accidents.
- Shoot properly and never stand to take a shot. You might fall over the boat.
- Verify all equipment you bring with the hunting trip before you leave home.
Hunting regulations by Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
If you are in Kentucky, then you must always check on the hunting requirements published by the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources.
Here we will only sum up some notes about what safety precaution should you take when hunting from a boat.
- You always need to bring along a valid hunter education card or exemption permit while hunting – whether in lands or on the boat.
- Orange is the key to hunting laws of Kentucky. Accordingly, the hunters and anglers must wear orange outer garments.
- Hunting from boats is limited to furbearers and small games only.
What Safety Precaution Should You Take When Hunting from a Boat?
Referring to the two hunting from boat laws above, plus with our hunting experience, here we answer your questions what safety precaution should you take when hunting from a boat in full.
#1. Pack yourself with hunting and boating knowledge
Never think about hunting from a boat if you cannot swim or you have not shot before.
Even when you carry all the essential stuff, life jackets, and personal floatation device, it does not mean you will stay safe. Water bodies present all kinds of risks, and you might have to handle all by yourself in some unexpected situations, say, you do not have time to fasten your life-jackets. Then, swimming skills will save your life!
Moreover, you need to be aware of your boat before you ride it out. Remember that some boats that are usually used for hunting like the flat-bottomed boats, punts, canoes, and sneaker boats are prone to capsizing and falling over. For that reason, you need to ensure that you understand the vessel’s characteristics, know how to operate it properly, and prepare to solve unexpected cases.
#2. Take this note: Let’s roll out when the clouds roll in
Weather is a make-or-break factor when you boat for hunting or a fishing trip. As it is overarching, you had better pay extra care on it.
You should be familiar with the task of checking commercial radio, local broadcast, and television stations frequently to have an idea of the marine weather to plan. Also, always bring a small VHF or battery-powered radio to check the forecast on the go.
Even when you have no radio by your side, you can predict the weather yourself with tips from the pro hunters and anglers:
- Count the seconds between the lightings and thunderclap, then divide the result by five to figure out the miles away from the approaching storm.
- Avoid when you get a sight of lighting. To be specific, head into shore as soon as possible while trying to stay away from large water bodies.
- Know the weather fronts to forecast the scale of the storm. Cold fronts are often fast-moving, and they cause stormy weather.
#3. Call your friend before you go out for hunting
Better safe than sorry, you must have at least one friend or family member know your float plan. It should contain the destination, backup areas, fellows on the boat, and the estimated time you will be back. If possible, also leave the description and registration number of the boat.
When you are suspiciously overdue, then, they might start a search.
In addition, prepare a copy on your boat as well.
#4. Check and load your boat smartly
Do not overload your boat, meaning you have to keep the watercraft weight limit in mind. Yet, you must still bring essential stuff like safety gear, hunting rifles, and arsenals, food, etc. If you take the hunting dogs with you, make sure they are well-trained and well-behaved.
So, make a list of things and people you will take on the boat. If the total weight is over the load limit, you should either leave somethings home or change to a bigger boat. Whatever you choose, it is vital to evenly distribute the weight on the boat.
Next, check the drain plugs, the petrol container, power motors, paddles, or so in advance. Make sure every part is frequently maintained and in good working order.
#5. Prepare yourself: physically and mentally
The boat is done. Then, about yourself.
We know you might be too excited to the hunting from a boat tomorrow, but you should go to bed early and take a long rest so that you will be in your best senses and alert later.
NO ALCOHOL OR DRUGS, please keep in mind.
Those harmful things will dull and slow your reactions. The alcohol even fastens the body heat loss, resulting in a higher rate of drowning and hypothermia when you fall into the water.
Thus, do not drink while hunting or before hunting. When you come home all safe and sound, you can have a small party with your friends or family, then.
The hunters above do not wear a waterproof jacket. It is not recommended.
The life-jacket (PFD) is the first check even when you are confident that you can swim as well as Michael Phelps. This is the very first safety boating education for hunters and anglers. However, you should know that there are many types of life-jackets. Do a search and make a wise choice.
Apart from that, you should wear light clothes to make it more convenient when you move or swim. However, if you go hunting in winter or cold areas, choose materials that are both warm and light. Or at least, prepare some warm clothing in your hunting backpacks.
#6. Have a safety plan
Above is not enough; you must also plan for all possible situations. Discuss with your friends if there is anyone who goes with you or who you leave your float plan.
What should you do if a sudden thunderstorm comes? If your hunting buddy falls into water, what will you guys do? Who do you contact for help, and how? Etc.
#7. Properly act when you are on the boat
Never stand up to fire shots without anchoring your boat. Or, for your sakes, shot the target in a seated position. Quick movements are also not allowed.
You must take extra care when the boat is on the water.
Hunting boats are often small and not stable enough. If you compose yourself, it is likely that you pose yourself and the rest of the boat to the risks of off-balance and even overturning.
#8. Always calm and responsive
Even when you are conscious of what safety precaution should you take when hunting from a boat, unexpected situations can turn up at any time of your journey.
At that time, it makes sense to be a little out-of-control for some seconds. Then, you need to be calm down and reflect on your safety measures. Take proper actions to handle the situation with all stuff available and try to search for help from nearby or contact the rescue team.
Stay fun, but safety first!
What safety precaution should you take when hunting from a boat?
We are pretty sure that you have some precious notes in your mind now. Before you go and prepare for the very next on-boat hunting game, we must remind again that hunting from a board significantly varies from that on the ground, especially the dangers of capsizing or swamping.