5 Important Safety Tips for First Time Hunters

There’s nothing like your first hunting trip. Whether you’ve been itching to give it a try for a long time, or you decided recently that you wanted to go hunt, you’ll never forget your first time.

But any time firearms are involved, safety is of paramount importance, and it isn’t something you can pick up as you go along. Here are five key safety tips that you should know as a first-time hunter.

  1. Be Careful When Loading and Unloading

Many hunting accidents occur when hunters are loading and unloading their firearms. Even if you’ve done this a thousand times, don’t allow yourself to get distracted.

It’s also important that you load your firearm at the right time. You’re better off with your gun unloaded when you’re hiking to your hunting location. This is especially true if you’re going to be climbing up or down any trees, as you should always have your gun unloaded for that.

  1. Wear the Right Gear

The most important gear you can wear if other hunters will be in the area is a safety orange vest. This color makes it easy for other hunters to spot you, which will help prevent any accidental shootings. If you’re hunting deer, you also want to make sure you don’t have a white shirt visible, because this can look like the underbelly of a deer from a distance.

While the most important part of wearing the right gear is avoiding accidental shootings, you should also wear gear that’s appropriate for the conditions. It’s dangerous to be out in low temperatures without clothing that keeps you warm.

  1. Check What’s Behind Your Target

The hope is that you hit your target, but that’s not always going to happen. And on those occasions where you miss, you don’t want your cartridge hitting something or someone you didn’t account for. That’s why it’s crucial to consider what’s behind your target.

Many cartridges can travel for over 1 mile if there isn’t anything in their path. One errant shot could end up hitting something well past what you were aiming at. Before you pull the trigger, carefully evaluate what else your shot could hit.

  1. Follow the Basic Firearm Safety Rules

Since you’ll be using a firearm, it’s important to know and follow the firearm safety rules that you can learn online or in any firearm safety course. The most basic and important of these is that you always treat firearms as if they’re loaded, even if you’re confident that they’re not.

You should always point the muzzle of your firearm in a safe direction – this is typically towards the ground. The rule of thumb is that you should only point the muzzle at things you’re willing to destroy. Wait until you’re ready to shoot before you slide your finger over the trigger. Before that, keep it on the trigger guard. This prevents accidental shots. And of course, you should have a full understanding of your firearms and how they work.

  1. Figure Out the Safe Zone of Fire

When you’re in an area with multiple hunters, whether because you’re hunting on public land or because you’re on a hunting trip with other people, you need to determine a safe zone of fire. This is where you can safely shoot without being at risk of a shot hitting one of your fellow hunters.

Safe zones of fire are common when hunting birds, but they can also apply to other types of hunting. To determine safe zones of fire, hunters that are spaced apart from each other hold their arms out at 45-degree angles and then consider where these zones will intersect.

Hunting can be a lot of fun, but it also presents its share of potential dangers. The good news is that you can minimize risk for yourself and your fellow hunters with some basic safety knowledge. Keep the tips above in mind to ensure that you stay safe on your first hunting trip and all the ones after it.

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