Hunting and Outdoors

5 Tips to Ensure a Safe Zone of Fire in the Field

Hunter Ed Course instructor explaining zone of fire to a young hunter.

A Guest Post By Jim Moore Hunting day is here. We’re all excited on that first day of hunting, but we must remember that safety in the field is the number one priority. A key rule of hunter safety training is to make sure you understand the concept of a safe “Zone of Fire” and that all your hunting buddies do too.

Hunter Ed Course instructor explaining zone of fire to a young hunter.
A key rule of hunter safety training is to make sure you understand the concept of a safe “Zone of Fire” and that all your hunting buddies do too.

First, make sure you understand what we mean by the “zone of fire”:

It is the area into which a hunter may shoot safely.

Here are five tips to be sure you understand the rules and that you can review them quickly with your hunting partners to be sure they understand the safe “zone of fire.” We want you have fun in the field and the first rule is to come home safely.

Follow the Basic Rules of ACTT

  • Assume every gun is loaded
  • Control the muzzle and keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
  • Trigger – Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.
  • Target – Be sure of your target and what lies beyond.

Understand the Safe “Zone of Fire

The zone of fire is the area in which a hunter may shoot safely. The two key elements of a safe “zone of fire” is there are:

  1. No people.
  2. No buildings that could be occupied by people or, domestic animals.

The safe zone of fire is not only where the target is located, but you must look beyond in case the bullet continues to travel beyond the target. This is why you never shoot at a target on a ridge or for which there is no clear field of vision beyond the target.

Determine the Safe “Zone of Fire” With Your Hunting Buddies

The safe zone of fire depends on the location of each person hunting in your group. To determine zones of fire, all hunters form a line facing the hunting area and within sight of one another. Each hunter holds both arms straight out from the chest with thumbs up. The hunters then widen their arms until each makes a 45-degree angle with their arms. Each hunter can then see where his or her zone of fire is located and where it intersects with the other hunters’.

Clearly Identify the Game Animal

Clearly identify the game animal and what lies beyond the game animal. There must be no obstructions, such as tree branches that could cause the bullet to ricochet, and that the game animal is within the range of the firearm. Never shoot to the rear.

Review your Hunter Safety Course.

If you are already a licensed hunter, then review your hunter safety course to remind yourself about the safe handling of firearms and particularly the safe zones of fire. If you would like a Hunter Safety Study Guide, a free e-book is available from www.HunterEdCourse.com. Hunter Ed Course also offers a concise, and easy to learn online option for new hunter’s state required hunter education.

Field of Fire - group Enjoy the hunt!

How do you and your hunting partners set up your fields of fire for safety? Tell us in the comment section.

[jmoore]

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