Hunting season is upon us in Louisiana and Texas. Before you head outdoors, it’s important to remember proper safety protocol for operating and handling firearms. Following these tactics will help you avoid accidents and injuries.
HUNTING ACCIDENTS HAVE FOUR COMMON CAUSES
Judgment mistakes: The number one cause of hunting accidents is mistakes in judgment, such as mistaking a person for game, not checking what’s in front of or beyond your target or getting caught up in the excitement of the hunt, which can cause you to make foolish mistakes.
Not following firearm safety rules: Another common cause of hunting-related accidents is not following safe firearm practices, like the four primary rules of firearm safety (see below).
Not enough practice: A huge problem in the field is hunters who don’t know their firearm capabilities. This stems from a lack of practice that can lead to things like accidental discharges and stray shots.
Mechanical failures: When it comes to firearms, you can never let your guard down; mechanical failures can and will happen, so you must know how to deal with them when they do.
THE FOUR PRIMARY RULES OF FIREARM SAFETY WHILE HUNTING ARE:
Always keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction: The muzzle of your firearm should never be pointed toward anything that you don’t intend to shoot. Practicing safe muzzle control is one of the most important things that you can do and should be second-nature long before you ever head out.
There is no such thing as an unloaded weapon: Every firearm should be treated as a loaded weapon. They should always be given respect.
Make sure you know what’s in front of and beyond the target: When taking a shot, you must always be sure of what’s in front of and what’s beyond your target. If you cannot see what lies beyond your target, never take the shot.
Keep your finger off the trigger: When carrying any firearm, your finger should never be inside the trigger guard unless you’re ready to shoot.
FOLLOW SAFE SHOOTING PRACTICES:
Safe zone-of-fire: Your zone-of-fire is the 45-degree area directly in front of each hunter. Never fire your gun outside of your Zone-of-Fire. The reason we stay inside that 45-degree area is that anything outside it cannot be seen with reliability and should be considered outside your field of view.
Self-control: It’s not uncommon for hunters to become excited while out on a hunt; just remember that this excitement can cause you to make careless mistakes.
Practice and accuracy: Shooting accurately is also one of the most important aspects of being a safe hunter. If you cannot routinely hit your targets while out at the range, you have no business hunting anywhere.
Target identification: If you’re not 100% sure of what you are shooting, do not take the shot.
Keep these tips in mind and follow the safety practices for an accident-free hunting season.