Safety is first priority in the outdoors

Carelessness can cost you everything

I’ve had the privilege to travel all over the country for work. I’ve hunted throughout the Deep South, and I’ve fished from Texas to Virginia and almost every state in between.

And during my four-year sabbatical from Louisiana Sportsman I traveled as a B.A.S.S. senior writer, covering Bassmaster tournaments large and small.

And, while I’ve enjoyed some of the best fishing and hunting this nation has to offer, I wouldn’t dream of living anywhere else. Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains come close, but Louisiana is my home — and it’s tailor made for anyone who loves the outdoors.

We are coming out of another hunting season that proves just how big our deer can grow, and the fishing? Off the charts. Nothing touches it, whether you’re talking trophy bass fishing at Toledo Bend or having your arm stretched by beastly reds along the coast.

But with such great outdoor opportunities come inherent danger. Forget about the statistics. They’re just numbers that we easily ignore.

Instead, flip to pages 24 and 253 for stories that bring home what can happen when we’re careless in our pursuits of Louisiana’s legendary game and fish.

We teach our children to treat every gun like it’s loaded — and then we walk through the woods during hunting season without wearing our blaze orange, even though it’s the smart thing to do. And we all too often run around in boats at all hours of the day and night without wearing life preservers.

Why do we do things that we know aren’t very smart? Things that certainly put us in danger but also threaten to rip our families and friends apart.

I once had a neighbor whose hunting buddy shot and killed his own son in a freak accident when the child jumped in front of his father’s gun just as the trigger was pulled. My neighbor was never the same. And it wasn’t even his child and he didn’t pull the trigger.

That accident wasn’t anyone’s fault, but it’s not an accident when we stuff our hunter orange in our pockets (you know, to hide from the deer) or leave our PFDs in the storage boxes or on our seats while we run our boats.

Those decisions are intentional, and they’re selfish.

If you think you aren’t hurting anyone else if you decide to cut safety corners, I again urge you to read the aforementioned stories. If the worst happens, your families pay a steep price, as well.

Sure, accidents can and do happen. There are no guarantees.

But you should do everything you can to ensure you come home from that fun outdoor trip.

About Andy Crawford 863 Articles
Andy Crawford has spent nearly his entire career writing about and photographing Louisiana’s hunting and fishing community. While he has written for national publications, even spending four years as a senior writer for B.A.S.S., Crawford never strayed far from the pages of Louisiana Sportsman. Learn more about his work at www.AndyCrawford.Photography.

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