By: Tom Claycomb
I work a lot of hours. So, when I finally get out in the woods, I don’t want to worry about work, politics, or bills. I just want to go have fun.
It occurs to me that, along these same lines, a lot of times the “safety people” in the world tend to make their gospel come across as pretty negative. “Don’t do this or you’ll get written up.” “Violate this rule and you’ll get fired!” I know they’re just doing their jobs, but because of this nagging, we often throw safety in the same group of things we want to get away from while hunting. We just want to get out in the woods and forget about all things stressful.
I’d beg you, though, to think again on the safety aspect of hunting. At the 2018 SHOT Show, I ran across an outfit called “SAFESHOOT” and was introduced to their product. Their system on hunter safety caught my eye. Here’s how they advertise it:
SAFESHOOT is a unique system that creates a safety network for hunters and assists in preventing friendly-fire incidents. By attaching a shooter device that fits most rifles, shooters will be automatically alerted when another SAFESHOOT device holder is downrange and in their line of fire. The system does not need line of sight because the SAFESHOOT advanced system uses radio frequency (RF) communication.
Each member of a hunting party is equipped with a SAFESHOOT device (SHOOTER or DOG DEFENDER). When taking aim, SAFESHOOT alerts SHOOTERS immediately when there is another SAFESHOOT device downrange and in the line of fire. SAFESHOOT alerts SHOOTERS visually and audibly thus assisting in preventing a fatal outcome.
At first blush, I didn’t think SAFESHOOT would fit into my world. But after thinking on it more, I came up with three applications where it might just work. I haven’t tested this product yet, but the following are some instances where this particular system would probably be very useful:
SAFESHOOT would be a good tool for teaching kids. Think back years ago when you were in grade school. How many times while out hunting with a BB gun did your buddy twirl around and accidently point his gun at you? And vice versa? A system by which to alert new gun users to such dangerous behavior would, I think, be a nice training tool.
I don’t have a bird dog, but over the years have hunted with some. How many times have I been about to shoot a flushing pheasant or quail and was so focused on him that I didn’t notice that the dog had busted his point and was jumping up after the flushing bird? SAFESHOOT’s Dog Defender system helps keep the K-9s working the field out of harm’s way.
I do my best to be aware of my surroundings and backgrounds while hunting, but there are places that lend themselves to confusion and scenarios that make it easy to get disoriented and not know where everyone is at all times.
Years ago, we were hunting some brushy draws for pheasants and quail up in Nebraska. As we pushed the draws, it was easy for a hunter to get out in front of the other hunters, since the draws curved and twisted through the pastures. The head-high plum thickets made it easy to lose one another, too. And then if a quail blew out, there was no telling which way he’d fly. So as you swung your shotgun into position, you had to be super cognizant of where everyone was before you pulled the trigger. Everyone laughed about the Cheney hunt (when then-Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a fellow quail hunter in Texas), but I could see how easily such a thing could happen.
I’ve never been a proponent of wearing orange, but in this scenario I am. As you bore down on a bird, the orange would stand out in the background. I believe the SAFESHOOT system would add to the safety of these situations, too.
Hunting is a lot of fun; I love it. But, God forbid you ever shot anyone. It’d devastate you for life. Whom do you hunt with? Family or close friends. No one you would ever want to hurt. If a device can help take care of the ones I love, I’m all about checking it out. For further info on SAFESHOOT, check out: https://www.safe-shoot.com/
Tom Claycomb III is a product tester for outdoor manufacturers, hunter, and outdoor writer, writing from Idaho.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock