Safety tips when using guns
Hunting with firearms implies always a risk, however it may be diminished almost to zero just following a few simple rules. In most of cases when an accident occurs, it's because one or more safety rules were infringed, so being aware about how to handle firearms safely is essential for every hunter.
Even when it might be obvious and well known, it's important a complete awareness of safe gun handling and that's possible only working on periodical safety capacitation. No matters how long you have been using firearms, if you are not completely aware about step by step safety rules, an accident might occur.
So, let's remember some basic rules when hunting with firearms which will keep you and your hunting fellows safe.
1. Your gun is your world
When you are dealing with a firearm all your attention must be focussed on it. Conscience about gun status, people around you, targets on range as well other shooters in the area is necessary to avoid accidents.
Don't take anything for granted and check twice before doing anything with your gun, this way you assure a safe gun manipulation.
In case of doubt, abort and start from the beginning.
2. If you haven't seen an empty chamber, the gun is still unloaded
It's a common mistake to assume a gun is unloaded because another hunter said it or because there was a recent shot.
Everytime you are handling a gun it's necessary to double check the chamber to be sure it's empty, otherwise the weapon must be considered as loaded and handled as it.
Improper management and storing may lead to fatal accidents, so NEVE assume a firearm is unloaded unless you have verified it personally, if possible twice.
3. The muzzle towards a safe direction
It seems obvious to say, but inside a blind or within a confined space it's not so easy to keep the muzzle pointing to a safe direction. So it's very important to be aware of where everyone is, and keep your gun away from them.
The best choice is upwards or if not possible, towards the ground. In this case, an accidental discharge will give you a great scare and perhaps a boot full of debris, but nothing to regret.
Please keep in mind that if you are hunting with dogs pointing towards the ground might not be a good idea because you might kill your hounds in case of an accidental shot, in such cases the best and probably only safe direction is upwards. But be care if there's someone near you on a tree stand!
4. Fingers out of the trigger
A finger might pulls the trigger accidentally while aiming, especially on winter days when very cold temperatures numb fingers, and an undesired shot may end on a fatal accident.
To avoid such a delicate situation there's a very simple solution, keep your finger out of the trigger until the last second.
Usually hunting is not a fast shooting exercise, instead you have to chase your game, select it, find the best possible moment to shoot and finally do it.
With such a long, complex steps, it's not necessary to keep the finger on the trigger until the last second, at the moment you have decided it's time to shoot and there's no way back.
Of course there are many other ways to keep you and your fellows safe, but following the above simple rules, you are covering at least 80% of what you need to do, so it's a good starting point!