Important Hunting Safety Tips

By Jonathan Bales , last updated December 22, 2011

Hunting can be a fun activity, but practicing safety is important. Hunting safety is so vital that anyone who hunts is required to pass a course on how to do it safely. With so much potential for danger, safety should be at the forefront of every hunter's thoughts. Simply realizing the potential for a catastrophe is the most important step in becoming a safe hunter, but there are other things to remember as well. Namely, you want to practice safe gun and bow habits, handling the items with care at all times. The slightest mistake could spell disaster, so attention to detail is crucial. Read on for a few important hunting safety tips.

Only Shoot the Target

This should go without saying, but many people shoot based on hunches, meaning they think they see something that resembles an animal and go for it. Senses can be deceiving though, especially in bad light. If you are in situations where visibility is not great, take extra care when discerning your target. If you cannot clearly see the animal, do not shoot.

Aim Carefully

Your gun should be pointed downward at all times except when you plan to fire. If you do not plan to fire your gun at something, do not point it at the object. Many hunters use their guns to show fellow hunters where something is located, pointing the gun in that direction. This is when tragedy can strike, though, so take the time to secure your gun and keep it pointed down.

Unload Your Gun

Unless you are in a tree stand or other hunting location, your gun should not be loaded. Even if you plan to take your gun to your vehicle before returning to your hunting area, unload it first. Of course, your guns should never be loaded at home, and they should be locked up away from ammo. Never store ammo and your gun together.

What's Behind Your Target?

Hunters can get so focused on their targets that they forget to check what is behind it. In the event that you miss, you want to make sure nothing behind the target could get harmed. If there is any question as to what is in the background, do not shoot. If you cannot see the target and background with great clarity, hold off. Do not raise your scope to locate objects or try to see what is in your sights, either. If you cannot see everything clearly with the naked eye, you should not shoot.

Take a Deep Breath

This is one of the most overlooked hunting safety rules, but it is often when people get excited that bad things happen. After the thrill of hitting one's target, many hunters get excited and exhibit poor gun safety, running with their guns or pointing it in a direction other than down. Once you hit an animal, turn the gun safety on and put the gun down before doing anything else.

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