Regardless of whether the hunter choice of weapon is guns or a crossbow there are certain safety precautions that must be taken at all times. For the purpose of this article we will focus on firearms.
The greatest safety precaution any hunter, whether novice or experienced, can take is to assume that a firearm is loaded at all times. Guns are not toys and hunting accidents happen far too often, most often as a result of carelessness or forgetting the number one rule: treat all firearms as if they are loaded, whether they are or not. As long as everyone in the hunting party remembers that the opportunity for someone to get hurt or worse still killed, is greatly reduced.
The Four Main Causes of Hunting Accidents
Errors in Judgment – An error in judgment occurs when the hunter fails to identify his target before firing. This can often happen when the hunter is overly excited by the opportunity to shoot and kill his goal target. Another hunter who may have unknowingly wandered into the sights of the hunter may get shot the shooter mistakes the movement of the hunter as the animal he is targeting.
Forgetting Firearm Safety – Picking up a firearm and treating it as if it is unloaded may cause an accidental shot to be fired, injuring or killing a fellow hunter.
Lack of Practice – When a hunter is unfamiliar with the firearm they are using or have not practiced enough to fully understand the firearm’s capabilities, there is potential for shots to go astray or the firearm to be discharged accidentally.
Mechanical Failure – Hunting rifles, as with any firearm, need to be properly maintained and kept clean in order to insure proper operation each and every time. Sometimes no matter how well maintained a firearm is there is potential for mechanical failure. A hunter needs to know what to do in the event that something fails on the firearm.
Four Major Rules of Hunting Firearm Safety
The firearm muzzle should be pointed in a safe direction when not ready to be fired. It is extremely important to always be aware of where the muzzle is pointed, whether the firearm is set down or being carried.
Treat every weapon as loaded at all times. Never assume that a firearm is unloaded. When the firearm is being transferred from one hunter to another both parties need to treat the firearm as if it is loaded whether it is or not.
Be aware of the surrounding area when aiming to take a shot. Make sure that the area in front and behind the target is clear. If in doubt do not take the shot.
Keeping fingers away from the trigger and trigger guard area unless ready to take a shot, to avoid an accidental discharge of the firearm.
Firearms are dangerous when mishandled. Following these rules will insure that the risk of accidents occurring is minimized, and help make the entire hunting experience a great one.