With hunting season upon us, the woods will be full of anxious hunters, watching and waiting for the perfect opportunity to take a shot at their prey. While hunting season is an exciting time for the outdoor enthusiast, it’s imperative that safety be top priority.
Always follow firearm safety practices with these four rules:
  1. There is no such thing as an Unloaded Weapon. Always treat every firearm as if it were loaded and given respect. When being handed a firearm, always assume that it is loaded, even if someone tells you that it is not. Firearms should be unloaded when not in use.
  2. Always keep your muzzle pointed in a Safe Direction. This means that the muzzle of your firearm should never be pointed towards anything that you don’t intend on shooting. Practicing safe muzzle control is one of the most important things that you can do out in the field, and should be something that’s second nature long before you ever head out into the field. Never rely on your gun’s safety.
  3. Make Sure You Know What’s in Front of & Beyond the Target: When taking a shot, you must always be sure of what’s in front of and what’s beyond your target. If you cannot see what lies beyond your target, NEVER TAKE THE SHOT.
  4. Keep Your Finger OFF the Trigger: When carrying any firearm, your finger should never be inside the trigger guard unless you’re ready to shoot.
Additional firearm safety tips:
Tip 1: Use proper ammunition.
Tip 2: If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, handle with care.
Tip 3: Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting.
Tip 4: Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting.
Tip 5: Don’t alter or modify your gun, and have it serviced regularly.
Tip 6: Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using.
Tip 7: Treat a misfire as though the gun could fire at any moment.
Tip 8: Make sure the gun is unloaded before attempting to clean it.
Tip 9: Never cross a fence, climb a tree or stand or jump a ditch with a loaded gun.
Tip 10: Never hoist a loaded firearm into a stand.
Tip 11: Always unload firearms before riding in any vehicle, including ATVs.
Tip 12: Wear hunter orange so you can be seen. If you take a dog with you, make sure it also wears bright colors.
Tip 13: Know the range of your firearm. Remember, even a .22 rim fire can travel over 1-1/2 miles.
Tip 14: Never take for granted the fact that you are carrying a loaded weapon. Most firearm accidents occur because people don’t respect the fact that they’re holding a weapon that is meant to kill. It’s your duty as a responsible hunter to always follow safe firearm practices; if these safety practices aren’t second nature, I advise staying home until they are.