Gun Safety: Hunting Safely!

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Gun Safety: Hunting safely is important!
Let's try not to kill each other in the woods while on the hunt.

General Gun/Riffle/Shotgun Safety Tips

Safety First: Basic Gun-sense

  • Hunters or shooters should always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. Point the gun in a safe direction so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage. Pointing the barrel of the gun toward the ground is not the safest direction, as you could easily shoot yourself or someone else in the foot, which is very uncomfortable for the one who is shot and requires quite a bit of costly and painful surgery that you will no doubt have to pay for. The rule is to control where the muzzle or front end of the barrel is pointed at all times. Common gun-sense should tell you the safest direction, depending on different situations. Most of all, make sure not to point the gun at anyone or at their hunting dogs, as shooting someone's best hunting dog is sometimes considered grounds for shooting the shooter.
  • Never touch the trigger until ready to shoot. Hold the gun, riffle, or shotgun resting your finger on the trigger guard or along the side of the gun until you are actually ready to fire.
  • Make sure the gun remains unloaded until ready to use. When you pick up a gun, the first thing you should do is make sure the safety device is engaged, and, if the gun has a magazine, remove it before opening the action and looking into the chamber which should be empty and free of ammunition. If you do not know how to open the action or inspect the chamber, leave the gun alone and get help from someone who does.
  • When storing a gun, riffle, or shotgun always make sure the gun is unloaded and a trigger-lock is properly in place and "locked", and the gun is stored in a "locked" gun locker or gun safe.
  • When shooting, always be aware of what is beyond your target. Before you even think about touching the trigger, be sure there are no people, or property such as houses or other buildings behind, or in the general area of the target.
  • You should know how to use the gun safely before you load and attempt to fire it. Learn how the gun operates and know its basic parts. Learn how to safely open and close the guns action and remove any ammunition from the gun or magazine. Remember, a gun's mechanical safety device is never foolproof.
  • Make sure your gun is clean and safe to operate. Like other tools, guns need regular maintenance to remain safe and operable. Regular cleaning and proper storage are a part of the gun's general upkeep. If you have any question concerning a gun's ability to function, a knowledgeable gunsmith should look at it before you use the gun, riffle, or shotgun.
  • Be sure to use the right ammunition in your gun when firing it. Use only BBs, pellets, cartridges or shells that are made for a particular gun. Most guns have the ammunition type stamped on the barrel. Ammunition types will be identified by the information printed on the box and sometimes stamped or printed on the cartridge. Don't shoot the gun, riffle, or shotgun unless you know you have the right ammunition. The wrong ammunition can misfire and cause severe injury or death.
  • Always wear eye and ear protection. Guns are loud and the noise can cause hearing damage and loss. Guns, riffles, and shotguns also emit debris and hot gas that could cause eye injury.
  • Never use alcohol or over-the-counter, prescription or other drugs before or while handling firearms. Alcohol, and any other substance likely to impair normal mental or physical bodily functions, must never be used before or while handling or shooting guns.

Remember, with gun safety, the only ones you can really count on being safe is yourself. Always pay attention to your surroundings as well as other hunters you see. If they seem to be dangerous with a gun, they probably are.

Far too often I find myself in the woods with someone I really wish I wasn't. Many times I've seen a hunter pop a beer before he even picks up his gun. I've learned to leave or leave them there. I will not hunt with someone who is under the influence. It's better to lose a day of hunting than to lose your life because some drunk threw gun safety out the window with the empty bottles.

I do not understand how people can contemplate using firearms after they've been drinking. I couldn't imagine having to live with myself if I injured someone or worse, killed someone because of an honest to goodness accident. If it happened because I had alcohol or some other substance in my system; I just don't think I could live with it.

Remember, gun safety while hunting, or any other time starts with using your own common sense.

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