During this time of year, when I spend a lot of time in a tree stand, I get reminded of the inherent risks involved in the things we do. We all know and are reminded daily of the risks we face in everyday life like driving a car, riding a bike or motorcycle and more. It’s the risk we face doing the things we love and think we are good at that we often overlook. Fishing and hunting have inherent risks.
For most of our lives we are instructed on how to minimize the risk involved with most of the things we do. In motor vehicles we wear seatbelts; we wear helmets when riding a bike or motorcycle and so much more. It should be the same in fishing and hunting, but that’s not always the case.
As professional anglers we take every precaution to be as safe as possible on the water. It might not always look like it — like on the Alabama River episode of The Bassmasters this season — but we've mostly minimized this risk as best as possible.
In a situation like that what you don’t see is the time we had spent figuring out the best way to run that river in those conditions. It still wasn’t as safe as many of us had hoped, but it wasn’t nearly as risky as it seemed when the show aired.
There are many things we do to improve our safety daily. I know for myself, along with most professional anglers, we always wear our life jackets and kill switches. Not just during tournaments either, I wear them anytime I'm on the water and driving the boat.
For hunting, I take a lot of precautions as well. When I'm hunting from a tree stand, I use a Summit Treestands’ Seat-o-the-Pants climbing system to protect against falls. It’s an added expense, but worth the safety it provides. Of course, there are also dozens of safety measures I take when handling weapons like my bow, guns and knives.
Hunting and fishing are fun, but they come with risks small and large. As a professional angler and avid outdoorsman, I take as many precautions as possible to minimize those risks. I wanted to take this time to remind everyone of that to recommend that you do the same. Minimize the inherent risks so that you can spend more time fishing and hunting in the future.