Shawn Stumpf is an avid hunter who was upset when COVID-19 cut his hunting season short. As states open up to more activities (including hunting), he is also worried that a few hunting safety issues could start in 2021 and stretch into 2022. These problems can be avoided if hunters are careful and understand the proper safety steps for minimizing their occurrence and keeping hunters safe.
As 2021 progresses and more people get vaccinated, a growing number of states are opening back up, and people are getting back to everyday life. However, Shawn Stumpf is concerned that not enough people are fully vaccinated to make this kind of social activity genuinely safe. With just over 50 percent of the population having gotten vaccinated, he fears COVID-19 could spread further.
This problem has been seen at many hunting camps throughout 2020 and even early in 2021. Though many people at these camps were vaccinated and did take steps to protect themselves, many others did not. And camps of this type are a perfect breeding ground for disease, particularly a condition as severe and problematic as COVID-19. During these fall and winter months, infection peaks are exceptionally high in rural areas where hunting is a more common pastime for many people.
Beyond the still present risk of COVID-19, Shawn Stumpf is also worried about this sudden increase in activity causing a higher risk of hunter injuries and deaths. In 2020, these statistics went down because fewer people were going out to hunt. However, experts believe that a surge in hunting activity will occur in 2021 and last throughout 2022, bringing more people out into the woods than ever.
On private land, this problem is probably minimized because few people will be hunting. And those who do will know where their hunting buddies are located and avoid each other. However, state or federal hunting land is open to a broader population. And with a rapidly increasing interest in hunting likely to stretch into 2022, many are worried that injuries and deaths will peak again.
How can these concerns be adequately managed? Shawn Stumpf argues that camps should probably be minimized or limited to people who have been fully vaccinated. Keeping the number of people at such camps at a reasonable level will help cut down on infection rates and minimize the risk of infection. But what about people who don’t own hunting land and who must go out on state or federal property?
Instead of going this route, Stumpf states that land rental is a better option. Many people will rent out parcels of land to hunters, particularly those willing to rent together. Getting together with a few vaccinated friends and renting a piece of private land should minimize these dangers.