1. Treat Every Gun As Loaded
This encourages more safe handling of the gun rather than having an attitude, like, Oh, its OK. I know it's unloaded. These unloaded guns actually result in many accidents every single year.
2. Keep Your Gun Pointed in a Safe Direction
What this means is that the muzzle should be pointed in such a direction that if the gun were to magically discharge on its own, no one would get hurt and no property would be damaged.
3. Never Point Your Gun at Anything You Don't Intend to Shoot
You should never point your gun at another hunter, dog, house, vehicle, etc. This also means that you should not use your gun's scope—if it has one—to look at animals in the distance, unless you intend to shoot what you are looking at.
4. Always Keep Your Finger Off the Trigger Until You're Ready to Shoot
Some triggers are hair triggers meaning that it only takes a very light pressure to make the trigger fire the gun. If you’re like me, when your sights are trained on an animal, your blood is really pumping and your excitement level is sometimes through the roof! If you follow this simple rule, you can avoid throwing shots and avoid a flinch or startle reaction that causes the gun to shoot.
5. Be Sure of Your Target and What's Beyond It
The bullet that you fire from the gun is not going to just magically stop after it hits what you are shooting at, unless you are shooting at a proper backstop, like a mound of dirt. An animal’s body is not sufficient to stop a speeding bullet, so what that means is that after the bullet strikes its target, it keeps speeding along until it hits something that WILL stop it, like a house or car, or until gravity takes over.
- Follow these gun safety rules yourself, and teach them to new or youth hunters
- Gun safety is extremely important when hunting and any time you handle firearms. Proper gun safety is an attitude, not just actions.