With Indiana’s deer firearms season opening Saturday, the state’s conservation officers remind hunters of these safety tips to prevent hunting accidents.
– Treat every firearm with the same respect due a loaded firearm.
– Control the direction of your firearm’s muzzle. Carry your firearm safely, keeping the safety on until ready to shoot. Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
– Identify your target and what’s beyond it. Know the identifying features of the game you hunt.
– Be sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions and that you have only ammunition of the proper size for the firearms you are carrying.
– Unload firearms when not in use. Leave the actions open. Firearms should be carried unloaded when traveling to and from shooting areas.
– Never point a firearm at anything you do not want to shoot. Avoid all horseplay with a firearm.
– Never climb a fence or tree, or jump a ditch or log with a loaded firearm. Never pull a firearm toward you by the muzzle.
– Never shoot a bullet at a flat, hard surface or water. During target practice, be sure your backstop is adequate.
– Store firearms and ammunition separately, beyond the reach of children and careless adults.
– Avoid alcoholic beverages or other mood-altering drugs before and while hunting or shooting.
These tips form a basic foundation for good firearms safety. Following them significantly increases the chances for an accident-free hunt.
In addition, to following the tips about firearms, hunters using elevated tree stands or platforms should use a full-body safety harness to protect themselves in case of a fall. Falling from an elevated stand or platform is the most common hunting accident in Indiana.
During the 2008 hunting season, 24 hunting accidents were reported to conservation officers. Falls from tree stands led to 15 injuries, resulting in two deaths.
For information about taking a Hunter Safety Course go to dnrlaw@dnr.IN.gov.