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Don’t become a hunting accident statistic By Sara Owens Whether you’re new to hunting or you’ve hunted most of your life, it’s important to hunt safely. Jimmy Maass, safety manager for Virginia Farm Bureau, said that many huntingrelated accidents can be avoided if hunters follow the proper safety requirements. “There are too many accidents involving people being mistaken for deer or other animals. Make sure you are absolutely sure of what you are shooting at before you even raise your gun,” Maass said. “It’s also important to make sure you are visible to other hunters. Follow the law when it comes to blaze orange requirements.” Before heading to the woods, check the weather, let someone know where you’re hunting and when you will return, and make sure you have the proper licenses and permits. It’s important to stay on designated trails and make sure you have written permission to hunt on someone else’s land.

ATV use while hunting Many hunters use an all-terrain vehicle to reach areas where they hunt, transport it to and from home in a truck bed or on a trailer. It’s important to load and unload the ATV using a sturdy ramp that’s secured to the vehicle. “Propping up two boards against the truck won’t cut it,” Maass said. “If a board falls, the ATV could flip over on top of you and cause a serious injury.” Ramps that fold up for easy transport cost around $150 to 200. “The ramps are more expensive than pieces of wood, but you can’t put a price on safety,” Maass said. “The ramps fit in the truck bed and can be safely secured underneath the ATV while traveling down the road.” When unloading the ATV from a truck, wear a helmet and keep all guns unloaded and on a gun rack. Never drive with a gun in

Be sure you’re visible to other hunters.

your hand or across your lap. If you’re using a trailer, make sure its lights are in working order and that the trailer is properly secured to the truck, using a trailer hitch or similar device that is structurally adequate for the weight being drawn. A locking device also should be in place, along with safety chains.

Tree stand safety Before using a tree stand, check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website,, to make sure it hasn’t been recalled. “If the tree stand has been recalled, don’t use it. Instead, call the manufacturer for information on a replacement or repair,” Maass said. Check the weight rating for the tree stand, and consider your weight plus the weight of the items you will be carrying. Inspect every inch of the tree stand thoroughly, making sure there aren’t any visible defects. “Check tree stands that are built onto the tree especially well,” Maass said. “It’s best to avoid homemade stands, because they’re the cause of most tree stand injuries.” Use a harness or safety device when climbing the tree stand; if you fall or slip, you won’t fall all the way down. “Never go up the tree stand while carrying a gun,” Maass said. Use a hoisting system to bring up unloaded guns and other supplies.

Is your ATV insured? Most members who have Farm Bureau homeowner insurance are able to include all-terrain vehicles, golf carts and six-wheelers on their homeowner policies to provide protection for liability situations, damage and theft. Motorized vehicle property and liability coverage will cover an ATV on or temporarily away from the owner’s premises. Better protection for motorized vehicles can be provided by insuring them under an automobile policy. If you wish to add coverage for your ATV, contact your Farm Bureau agent to discuss the best option for protecting your family and your investment.

For new vehicles in general If you’ve just bought a new car, pickup truck or van, be sure to contact your Farm Bureau agent right away to make sure it is included on your auto insurance policy. Don’t depend on the car dealership to do this for you! If your new vehicle is replacing one already on your policy, the broadest liability coverage now provided on any existing vehicle will apply until the end of the policy period or for 30 days, whichever is longer. To add physical damage coverage— comprehensive and collision coverage—contact your agent within 30 days after becoming the owner of the vehicle. If your new vehicle is an additional vehicle, you’ll need to contact your agent within 30 days of taking ownership to add it to your current policy for all desired coverages.

Tips for a safer winter: Visit to view winter safety videos courtesy of Virginia Farm Bureau Safety.

Homeowner and auto insurance policies can be used to cover all-terrain vehicles.



November 2011 Cultivate  

Introduced in July 2008, Cultivate is published quarterly with a focus on safe, fresh and locally grown foods and the Virginia farms that pr...