Hunting Safety

From the first day you consider learning to hunt, safety becomes your very first priority. By learning good hunting safety rules you not only protect yourself, but other hunters, hikers, and visitors to the woods where you’re traveling. Some of these rules may seem like “common sense” (but common sense isn’t “common”). Even experienced hunters remind themselves of these important guidelines regularly

First and foremost hunting safety means gun safety. This is a very powerful tool that comes with responsibility. No matter where you are, always treat your gun as if it was fully loaded and ready for shooting. That means no pointing at people, even in jest, even if you believe the gun is empty (i.e. never aim a gun at something unless you plan to shoot at it). Numerous accidents could be avoided annually by making this rule gospel. Additionally, remember to keep your gun’s safety “on” until you’re actually ready to use it. If you have to do any sort of climbing, unload the weapon and reload when you’re where you want to wait.

Second know your skill level and be certain of your aim. People’s emotions run high when hunting, which is why other hunters or hikers get mistaken for deer. Look twice; be sure. Binoculars are one good solution. No game is worth potentially hurting an unsuspecting person in the woods because you didn’t look closely.

Third know your weapon and take proper care of it. Like any tool your gun needs on-going care if it’s to work properly. Read the manufacturers recommendations regarding cleaning and oiling, and follow them. It doesn’t hurt to invest in a field cleaning kit if you’re planning on a long hunting trip.

Fourth is to have familiarity with your hunting area. For one, you’ll know if there are homes nearby or campgrounds of which to remain aware. For another you’ll have a better feel for your zone of fire – the direction you can safely shoot without getting into blind spots, etc. When in doubt – stop and look one more time for that “hunter orange” stripe that identifies other humans (you should be wearing this too!).

Fifth is having proper hunting gear, including eye and ear protection. Exposure to gunfire can cause hearing loss over time. Eye protection creates a barrier between you and any possible debris like gun powder. Hunting safety isn’t really possible without the right gear to assist you just like any other task.

Last but not least remember to go hunting unimpaired. Drugs or alcohol make handling firearms very unsafe. When you are hunting, make hunting safety your number one priority.

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