HUNTINGsmart! USA Knowledge Base
Module 01 - HUNTING BASICS
You may be thinking that learning about hunter safety is less exciting than learning about how to actually shoot your firearm—but take a moment to think about the people you’ll be hunting with. Friends and family right? The people who mean the most to you. That’s our preferred company too—and every other hunter out there. So yes, safety always comes first when you’re handling firearms.
THE TOP TEN RULES FOR HUNTER SAFETY
- 1) Be Muzzle-Minded:
- Point your muzzle in a safe direction at all times. A safe direction is a path in which a bullet cannot possibly strike anyone, even in the event of a stumble or fall.
- 2) Treat Every Firearm As If It’s Loaded:
- Every time you handle a firearm, open the action immediately to visually check the chamber and magazine for any ammunition.
- 3) Know Your Target:
- Know what’s in front and beyond your target and know the distance your bullet will travel if it misses your target. You can’t call a shot back, so you better be sure that it’s accurate, ethical and legal before you pull the trigger. If you glimpse a splash of orange between the trees, you haven’t discovered North America’s ONE wild tiger—you’ve just bumped into another hunter.
- 4) Keep Off The Trigger:
- Unless you’re ready to shoot, keep your fingers off the trigger and away from the trigger guard area. The trigger area may seem like a tempting place to rest a relaxed index finger, but even the smallest amount of pressure could cause you to fire accidentally.
- 5) Check For Obstructions:
- Check the barrel, action and magazine every time you unload your firearm and remove any obstructions, oil or grease before firing.
- 6) Lighten The Load:
- If you’re carrying but not actually using your firearm, make sure it’s unloaded, the action is open, and it’s safely stored. Use a case that’s designed for the size and weight of your firearm.
- 7) No Roughhousing:
- Don’t mess around with firearms and never aim at anything you don’t intend to shoot—tragic accidents can happen. That includes using the proper safety procedures for climbing over fences, and crossing streams and ditches when you have your firearm in tow. No action hero stuff.
- 8) Put It Away:
- Store your firearms away from everyone—children and adults. Store the ammunition separately from your firearms and remember that both the ammo and the firearms must be out of sight and locked up.
- 9) Know The Ricochet Effect.
- A bullet can ricochet if it skips off a flat surface like a rock, a tree, or even water. Assess your target’s backstop before shooting—you don’t want to risk a return visit from a fired bullet.
- 10) Keep It Clean.
- Never drink alcohol or take drugs before or while operating a firearm. When under the influence, your vision, aim and judgment will be impaired. Always make the responsible decision to NOT go hunting if you’ve consumed drugs or alcohol.
Wise Words: Tip Your Hat to Hunting
Get to know your firearm and it’s safety mechanism by reading the manufacturer’s documentation. If you’ve bought a used firearm that no longer has it’s original paperwork, contact the manufacturer to obtain the information you need.