By Jim Moore, HunterEdCourse.com The big day is here: Opening Day! You waited all year for this day and you don’t want it ruined with an accident, so prepare yourself and your equipment for a safe, fun day in the field.
Take some time the day before your hunt to review these five basic tips that will help ensure your safety and remind your hunting buddies to do the same.
- Inspect your firearm for safe operation. Before arriving in the field it is important to inspect your firearm.
- Make sure it is clean from your last hunt.
- Lubricate all moving parts per the manufacturer recommendations.
- Dry fire it (use a snap cap with a shotgun).
- Open and close the action.
- Inspect the barrel for obstructions.
- Inspect the overall condition of the firearm for any stress points or damage from your last hunt.
- Make sure your ammunition matches your firearm. When hunting or shooting, it is important to select the correct ammunition for the firearm to avoid damage to your firearm and possible injury to yourself. Match information from these five sources to ensure your firearm is being loaded with the proper ammunition for safe operation.
- Ammunition box or carton from the manufacturer.
- Ammunition head stamp and case or hull.
- Firearm barrel stamp.
- Ammunition suppliers—sales clerks and gunsmiths.
- Firearm owner’s manual.
Always store ammunition in its original factory box.
- Review your Hunter Safety Course. If you are already a licensed hunter, 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 a new hunter’s state-required hunter education.
- Wear blaze orange. Wearing hunter or blaze orange makes hunters highly visible to other hunters. In the U.S., 40 states require hunters to wear hunter orange while hunting, with exceptions for hunting game species that have better color vision than humans, such as wild turkey or waterfowl. Wearing hunter orange reduces the chance of a hunting-related shooting incident. Even if you are hunting a species with better color vision than humans, or bowhunting during a season during which firearms may be present, wear hunter orange while moving to and from your stand or blind.
- Follow the basic rules, think of ACTT
- A: Assume every gun is loaded.
- C: Control the muzzle; keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
- T: Trigger – keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.
- T: Target – be sure of your target and what lies beyond.
Never hunt with someone who does not respect these rules. The result could be serious injury or death to you or another hunter or a non-hunter.
Be sure you:
- Have a current license
- Your hunter education card, if your state requires it to be on your person
- Have a firm understanding of the rules and regulations for the species and area that you are hunting
Remember, most licenses require your signature to be valid: don’t get caught making such an easy mistake.
Enjoy the hunt!
How do you prepare for the opening day of hunting season? Share your best tips in the comment section.