Accidental shootings, improper field dressing or processing, and carbon monoxide in cabins are some of the main safety hazards of hunting, says Allegheny County Health Department spokesman Guillermo Cole.
Cole says during the 2009 deer hunting season, 12 accidental shootings were recorded by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. None were fatal, but Cole says most years there are a few hunting deaths. He says hunters should wear orange and stay with a buddy to avoid such accidents.
After field dressing a kill, Cole says hunters should wash their hands thoroughly, including their fingernails. Afterward, the deer should be taken to a licensed and inspected deer processor as soon as possible. Cole says if the temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the risk of spoilage increases greatly; hunters should ice their kill while they take it to a reputable processor.
Hunters can call the Health Department at (412) 687-2243 for a list of licensed deer processors.
Cole says carbon monoxide poisoning can also occur when a cabin isn’t properly ventilated for a heating unit, such as a wood burner or kerosene heater.
In addition, Cole says to always carry a cell phone, high-energy food and water when hunting.