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Hunting Safety Tips
Why these hunting Safety Tips are Important.
Probably more than any other outdoor activity, hunting comes with a few rules and points of common sense. That is because hunting involves the use of deadly weapons.
Whether it is a rifle, shotgun or bow; this past-time consists of certain safety tips that should be known and followed in the sport.
Any responsible hunter and outdoorsman will tell you that guns and bows are not play toys. You should never dry fire a rifle or point an arrow at someone in fun. These are simple no-no’s that need to be pointed out to people. However, sometimes the human condition takes over where sound judgment comes into play.
So let’s look at a few important hunter safety rules that everyone should reflect upon and know by heart.
- Every firearm should be treated as if it was always loaded. Never assume the chamber is empty. because about the time you do is when something goes awry. Make sure the safety is on when not in use, but NEVER simply place confidence in that precaution alone.
- A good follow-up to treating a weapon as empty is making sure IT IS empty. It becomes a mindset of treating your weapon as if it as loaded but is empty when not in use.
- When traveling, have your firearm unloaded. A safety mindset when on the road cannot be overstated.
- In the same vein regarding ammunition, don’t have your gun loaded until you are ready to fire. Sometimes hunters will have a round ready, but a better practice is to have a clip loaded and in a pocket. Then when you see your game you can put the clip in and chamber the round.
- When at the firing range or in the field, NEVER point your rifle or shotgun at someone. It is always directed downrange in case an accident was to occur. Experience dictates that if something can go wrong, it will. So be mindful of ensuring the weapon is always pointed away from individuals and/or down. It is your responsibility to know where the muzzle of the weapon is directed.
- Your finger should never be on the trigger of a rifle or shotgun until you are ready to fire. Accidental discharges have occurred by hunters not thinking and placing the finger in the trigger guard.
- Make sure you know what your target is before you fire. Not only do you NEVER fire at people, but you must be shooting what you have a license for. If you have a cow elk license and shoot a bull, even by mistake, you can face some high fines. Be aware of your environment at all times.
- Be aware of what is behind the target you are taking aim at. If you cannot assure yourself that the direction you are shooting is clear and safe behind the target, it is better to let the game move on. Accidental injuries and death have occurred from shooters not knowing the backdrop of their target.
- KNOW your ammunition! This can’t be overstated. If your ammo is improperly marked or is a reload, don’t assume it is the right bullet.
- Is your rifle or shotgun free of obstructions? Have you cleaned it before coming out to shoot? A weapon with debris inside can cause develop into a tragic situation. Don’t be like the hunter that leans a gun against a tree or fence with the barrel in the ground. Simply asking for problems.
- Do you know your rifle or bow (not by name…unless you like to give it a pet name)? You know what each part is for when dissembled and put back together. Know the feel of a weapon and the way it works when in your hands. It is your tool so understand it.
- Understand that a misfire could lead to an eventual fire. Don’t treat it like the ammunition was discharged. Service your weapon properly if this should occur.
- If you must climb a fence or fallen tree on a hunt, don’t try to carry the weapon with you. Either have someone hand it to you once you make the climb or secure it properly against a stable object and then commence scaling the fence away from your weapon. Then you can retrieve your gun.
- It is always a good practice keeping ammunition stored separately from a firearm. If little ones are in the house, this will assure a safe environment within the home.
(*This is a good place to remind hunters that children should learn the proper attitude and respect that goes with handling a firearm. Hunting is an enjoyable sport and young people should be allowed to experience whether it is an activity they desire to
- If you want to have a drink or are on medication…leave the weapon alone. Shooting a gun or handling a bow requires the presence of mind. Alcohol and drugs do not mix with handling weapons, so do the smart thing and leave the weapon alone.
- If you are a black-powder shooter, don’t be near open flames or a source of ignition. It doesn’t take much for gunpowder to accidentally ignite if a spark is created near the pan of a muzzle-loader.
- When hunting, it is best to be wearing bright orange so other hunters are aware of your presence. Some states require a minimum amount of orange to be present. That includes a hat or other head covering, as well a vest or jacket. (Other states may give allowances for this requirement.)
Non-shooting but still worth it.
- Hunting is never the same weather wise. Dress for the occasion as the temperature can drop quickly, especially in higher ranges. It is easier to remove layers than not having what you need.
- First-aid kits is an investment that is a must. Walking through unfamiliar terrain, knife incidences, burns and insect bites will make having access to first-aid worthwhile.
- You can get turned around in the woods rather quickly. Be prepared by having a GPS or compass with you. GPS today is not like what it was even 10-15 years ago. Your location can have you within 20-30 feet of accuracy.
- Before going to where you plan on hunting, know your geography. If you get into tracking an animal you wounded, knowing your terrain is important.
- Finally, let someone know where you plan on being in case of an emergency. If it becomes necessary to contact you and you have no means of contacting someone by cell, then having a general idea of your whereabouts is imperative. Never hunt alone. That is when most situations of lost hunters seem to occur.
Being safe during the entire trip…from planning to the hunt makes sense. It is when hunters and outdoorsmen fail to plan on being safe that tragedy can strike. The hunt is an enjoyable and fulfilling experience but be smart.
Check your local and state regulations about hunting requirements. Each state is different, so if hunting in another location…you must know what is expected.
You never know. By hunting in a responsible nature, you may be keeping someone else safe along with yourself.