duck hunting boat

What safety precautions should you take when hunting on a boat?

Hunting is a common and favorite past-time for many Americans but also anyone who enjoys the great outdoors. While we often associate hunting with being on land, there are actually other alternative forms of hunting, with one being on a boat. For some, they may find being on a boat unsteady and difficult; however, for others, it can be both a relaxing and calming effect. For those who enjoy a new experience or who are looking to experience hunting on a boat, there are a few considerations to bear mind as it can be dangerous if certain precautions are not taken.

Whether deer hunting or duck hunting from a boat with a dog, you should know the most important rules and regulations. To be best prepared, we share tips on how to have a safe and enjoyable hunting experience on the water.

Safety First

Whether it’s ensuring your lock is on while walking to not misfire or checking your gun to ensure it is in working condition – safety is essential. It is one of the most important things one can do when going on a hunt. Land or water, safety rules must be taken into account.

What should sportsman always consider when hunting from a boat?

A few ways to practice safety while hunting on a boat are:

Proper equipment – for boating and hunting

When it comes to hunting on a boat, it essentially combining two outdoor activities into one, which means the safety of the commonly individual sports must be taken into consideration. When it comes to boating, regardless of experience, swim level or confidence, it is best to always have a life jacket. For some hunters, wearing a life jacket may seem unappealing, however, there is always the unknown in water currents or if there are multiple people on a boat, it could be slightly unsteady and result in the capsizing. If you fall into cold water while hunting from a boat you should try to get out of the water as soon as possible. With all the equipment hunters would have, it could either prevent them from staying afloat or make it difficult to do so. On top of wearing a life jacket to prevent from sinking or drowning, if the boat which is being used as a safety or ignition switch, it is important to ensure that is attached as well. This can prevent the boat from continuing to operate when one has fallen overboard. 

As well as having a life jacket to ensure ones boating safety, it is important that the necessary safety precautions for the type of gun being used is put in place. For example, most guns such as rifles have a lock system. This can prevent any misfire.

When choosing a boat, know that certain boats may be more prone to capsizing when there is movement than others but also know that a kayak or an inflatable boat are not allowed for hunting purposes.

Loading the boat and your gun

boat hunting tipsUnless the boat being used is a yacht and not the common steel boats that are used for those weekend fishing trips, it is important to make sure that the weight of the boat is evenly distributed but also not over the requirement. When it comes to hunting and boating, sometimes it’s easy to think we need everything; however, make sure if you bring cases for your hunting equipment it is not overly heavy but more importantly don’t forget to factor yourself and your friends in the weight capacity of the boat.

For a seasoned hunter, even when the waves come, they are able to load and lock their gun easily; however, if you are looking to try hunting on a boat for the first time, be sure to have all you need to load your gun close by. This will prevent any issues or troubles loading the gun.

Knowing the rules and law

Many cities that allow for recreational hunting will require a permit which will dictate what can and can’t be hunted. This will often be based on the time of year and the population of the animal being hunted. It is important that before hunting on a boat, you ensure you have all the proper documentation to do so. This means having a boating permit, gun permit, and hunting permit. If you have a mix of people who are looking to hunt and fish, ensure that they too have their fishing permit as well. It is also important that when you have your permits you know what, if any, the restrictions are.

Knowing the rules and the laws surrounding hunting and boating will make for a much more enjoyable and stress-free time, as some states do not allow hunting on a boat for certain games while others do. The last thing you want is to have to pay a fine because you weren’t sure what could and couldn’t be done.

Hunting with Confidence

Some of the basic safety precautions that one would take hunting on a boat are essentially the same safety precautions one would take hunting or boating. The one difference is that now you are combining the two and there are a few more steps or safety measures that need to be taken. From knowing what can and can’t be hunted to ensuring the weight is not too much for the boat. Hunting can be an enjoyable and peaceful experience; however, not following or taking into consideration the safety measures can be dangerous.

If it is your first time hunting on a boat, go out on the water with someone who has experience. Familiarize yourself with the route but also with your gun. It could be daunting trying to reload or stability on a boat if there are waves or ripples in the water.

Not sure about the regulations? Contacting your cities local municipality specializing in hunting and boating can provide you with the necessary information. It is better to be safe and ensure you go above and beyond than to risk possible injury.



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