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Into the Woods

Into the Woods

C Company, 2916th Aviation Battalion
Fort Irwin, California

The time has come again when leaves begin to change color, the wind gets a little crisper and dreams of a freezer full of venison start luring hunters back into the woods. While hunting is a great way to bond with family and friends, as well as aid in wildlife management and conservation, we must remember to take the steps that will ensure we make it back home to enjoy the spoils of our labor.

Have a plan and share it with others

Going into the woods can be a great way to spend a few hours or even a weekend, but be sure you plan your trip wisely — especially if you are hunting alone. Tell your family or friends where you are going, how long you expect to be gone and what to do if you do not make it back in the time you expected. Additionally, make sure your phone is fully charged so you can alert someone to changes in your plans or any issues or emergencies you may have.

Dress for success

Nothing can make your trip more miserable than shivering in a tree stand for hours. It’s even worse if you are wet. Make sure you have the proper clothing you need to not only be visible to other hunters, but to stay comfortable while you are in the woods. Investing in quality gear will make the trip more comfortable and successful.

Don’t become a statistic

We have seen the stories and statistics of weapons mishaps while hunting. Make sure you and anyone with you follow proper weapons safety techniques. Always keep your weapon pointed in a safe direction. Treat all firearms as if they are loaded and don’t trust your weapon’s safety. Always know what your target is and what’s behind it. Wear your personal protective equipment. Eye injuries can come from a variety of places. No one wants to get an eye injury because a random branch wanted to say “hello” to your eyeball. Your ears will also thank you for protecting them. Hearing protection is available that allows you to hear your surroundings while blocking out damaging sounds when the decibel level gets too high.

Celebrate your harvest after, not before

Filling the freezer with meat is always an enjoyable experience, but save the celebration for afterward. There are enough inherent risks involved with hunting without adding alcohol into the mix. Not only will it increase the likelihood of you having a mishap, trying to make a shot while inebriated does not help your likelihood of success. Besides, no one wants a drunk with a gun — and you’ll still have to make it back home.

Plan for the unexpected

Remember, things don’t always go according to plan. The old adage of “Failing to plan is planning to fail” certainly applies to your hunting trip. Always carry items with you that will guarantee you make it back home. Bring a flashlight or headlamp in case it gets dark. Have a map and compass/GPS with you, especially if you are not familiar with the area. Invest in a first-aid kit. You don’t need to bring a combat medic bag with you to the woods, but be sure you have the essential items to clean and dress a wound or mend a turned ankle. Make sure your vehicle or ATV is in proper working condition. Calling someone to a random piece of land to get you is never something anyone wants to do.


Spending time in the great outdoors is always an enjoyable experience. Be sure to follow these tips to have a safe and successful hunt. And don’t forget to follow the laws in your hunting area. Be safe and I will see you in the woods.

  • 12 September 2021
  • Author: USACRC Editor
  • Number of views: 466
  • Comments: 0