Hunting is a very involved sport that requires all of your senses to pursue your game.  And, of course, there is always an element of danger when climbing steep mountains, traversing snake country, using a firearm or razor-sharp broadhead, etc. — all of which add to the adrenalin and need for forethought. The difference between a successful and disappointing hunt is wrapped up in preparation and practice. To be successful, you should avoid these basic mistakes when out in the field.
1.  Mismatching the ammunition to the firearm – Firearms and ammunition are not all made equal. Even if the barrel or bore has the same dimensions as a cartridge (handgun or rifle) or shotshell (shotgun), that doesn’t always mean it is suitable for the firearm. For instance, a .270 cartridge will chamber in a .30-06 barrel, but you would be making a life-threatening decision for yourself and others around you if you fired it. To ensure that you have the correct ammunition, check close to the rear of the barrel for the manufacturer’s data stamp with the specific caliber or gauge and the required length of the cartridge or shotshell. Even before you enter the field, double check to make sure you have the right ammunition by matching the specific caliber or gauge designation on the side of the barrel exactly with the caliber or gauge on the ammunition. With multiple similar guns in a safe, it’s easy to grab the wrong gun or ammunition. Missing this step can result in injury to yourself or someone else and damage to your gun, so NEVER mix ammunition.
Hunter Safety with Hunter Ed
2.  Relying on the safety – Whenever you hear about safe firearm handling, using the safety is always mentioned. It is important to remember that firearm safeties can and do fail. Don’t let your guard down even if the safety is on. General wear and tear or accidental movement can release the safety and make you or someone else more vulnerable in the field. There are four types of safeties:

  • Cross-Bolt (Hammer and Trigger)
  • Pivot
  • Slide (Tang)
  • Half-Cock (Hammer)

Know where the safety is located on your firearm and how it operates before entering the field. It shouldn’t be released until you are ready to shoot. In the meantime, be sure your muzzle is always pointed in a safe direction in case the safety fails. Keep the four basic rules of firearm safety in mind as an added safety measure.

3.  Using the wrong choke for your quarry – Chokes are only used in shotguns. Before you select one, take into account what you’re hunting and the distance you’ll be from your target. A choke does not alter the speed or distance, but it does help with shot pattern. Failing to do this can result in missing your target or wounded animals.
4.  Not using the appropriate position or stance – The position or stance you take depends on the firearm you’re using. Become comfortable with your rifle-firing position or shotgun- or handgun-shooting stance to give yourself the best chance of hitting your target. Remember: Practice is key.
Rifle: prone, standing, sitting and kneeling. The safest and most accurate shots are taken from a rest — a log, large rock, or other stable object. Don’t rest the barrel directly on a hard surface, or it will shoot higher than normal — put some padding, such as a hat or a jacket, under the rifle.
Shotgun: always in standing or sitting position with good balance and enough room to swing the muzzle
Handgun: arm’s length, mirroring a shotgun stance. Use a tree trunk, steady limb, or other stable object as a rest. Placing some padding, such as a hat or a jacket, on top of a hard rest helps with your aim.
5.  Not telling anyone where you’re going – No one plans to get lost while hunting, but weather and environmental conditions, the excitement of the chase, or the failure of location devices can leave you turned around. Before you set out, get to know the grounds you are hunting, and let someone you’re not hunting with know who you’re with and where you’re going. This will help a search-and-rescue team if you’re reported missing.
6.  Not using the right hunting strategy – Every experienced hunter knows that if the game gets your scent or sees you first, it could be a long day out in the field without much luck. Know the habits of the game you’re targeting and pay attention to your surroundings — especially the wind. These factors will help you decide which of these hunting strategies and equipment to combine and use.

  • Calling
  • Driving
  • Elevated stands
  • Ground blinds
  • Posting
  • Stalking
  • Still hunting
  • Trapping

It may take a combination of these tactics to have a successful trip, so don’t be afraid to change things up. With patience and some help from lady luck, you’ll quickly develop a love for hunting.
7.  Not properly identifying your target – One of the worst things you can do while hunting is fire at what you think is an animal you want to harvest, without making sure it’s an animal you want to harvest. Brush, trees and grass do a great job of camouflaging animals, because animals are designed to be hidden by their environment. If you can’t see antlers, and you shoot a doe out of season or without a tag, that’s bad. But, if you see some brown movement and shoot another hunter, you could be ruining the rest of the hunter’s and his or her family’s life, not to mention your own. Be sure you know exactly what you’re shooting, and have a clean, ethical shot before pulling the trigger. Once the bullet leaves the barrel, there’s no bringing it back.
8.  Not sighting-in your rifle or handgun – Sighting-in is important in determining the accuracy of your shot at specific ranges. Scopes get bumped and sites can come loose. The practice helps with a variety of core skills — practice makes perfect — and allows you to build confidence in your shooting techniques. You should fire several shots at a target at a known distance before each hunt to make sure your firearm is grouping correctly. Keep in mind that field shots will be different from bench rest shots. It is highly recommended that hunters practice different shooting positions to easily replicate those shots in the field.
9.  Not wearing proper clothing – At Hunter Ed, we’re big supporters of blaze orange — the more the better. And in many states, it’s required. You’ll want to tailor your clothing choices for the climate you’ll be in and plan accordingly for changes in temperature. In warm weather, stick to light clothing. During the fall and winter months, layers will keep you insulated and comfortable because you can shed them and add them back as you hike or the temperature changes.
First: Vapor transmission layer (polypropylene material)
Second: Insulating layer (Wool is the best choice.)
Third: Protective outer layer
Don’t forget about your shoes. They need to be reliable, support your ankles and knees, and be sturdy enough to endure the terrain. Also, a hat or cap with earflaps, gloves, and two layers of socks (polypropylene against the skin and a wool outer layer) are essential in cold weather.
10.  Hunting negligence – There are guidelines that govern the hunting grounds within each state, and they can change from season to season. As a responsible hunter, it’s important to stay informed about regulations changes, hunting seasons, and enforcement.  Game wardens or conservation officers can approach you at any time, and they are responsible for protecting hunters and their resources. They also have the authority to report violations with consequences that vary in severity from citations, to fines, forfeiture of firearms, license revocation, or even jail time. Carry your hunter’s education certificate and hunting permit or license at all times, and respect the land and game to avoid consequences.
Is there a common hunting mistake that you want to add to this list? We want your input, so help us by leaving a comment below. Happy hunting, and stay safe out there!

 Help us promote tree stand safety awareness!

Tree Stand Photo Contest
Every year, there are reports of hunters falling from tree stands; and often, the difference between life and death is at the end of a lifeline. The National Sports and Shooting Foundation reported in 2011 that more than 6,600 hunting accidents were related to tree stands. As hunting seasons open up around the country, we want to continue to encourage hunters to stay safe.
Hunter Safety System (HSS) and Hunter Ed are coming together to give away the following items:

So here’s how you can win.

  1. Pick a social media site – Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
  2. Follow Hunter Ed and Hunter Safety System on the social media site you choose.
  3. Upload a picture taken from your tree stand. It can be of you or your view; show us your safety gear!
  4. Tag it with #treestandhunting.
  5. Check back on November 19 when we’ll announce the winner on our social media channels

Eligible Channels:

We will contact the winner on the social media site where they submitted their image. The winning entry will be posted on Hunter Safety System’s and Hunter Ed’s social media sites.
Official Rules:


The Tree Stand Photo Contest (“Contest”), sponsored by Kalkomey Enterprises, Inc.(Sponsor), is only open to legal residents of the United States and District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older at the time of entry.
Employees, officers, and directors of Sponsor and Sponsor’s affiliated companies, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, and any and all other entities directly associated with this Contest, as well as the immediate family members and members of the same household of any of the above are not eligible to participate.
Upon entering this Contest, entrants agree to waive any rights their state of residence may provide in regard to contests. Void where prohibited by law.


No purchase is necessary to enter or win. The Contest is open to individuals 18 and older who live in and are legal residents of the United States.  Multiple entries will be accepted.
Entrants must do one of the following to successfully enter the Contest.

  1. Like Hunter Ed and Hunter Safety System on Facebook.
  2. Follow Hunter Ed and Hunter Safety System on Twitter.
  3. Follow Hunter Ed on Instagram.

By submitting an entry, you agree to the terms defined within the official rules. By providing your entry, you give full and unlimited rights to the Sponsor to use, edit, broadcast, and reproduce your picture as the Sponsor sees fit.
Entries will only be accepted on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


The Contest begins on November 1, 2013, at 8:00 a.m. (CT) and ends on November 15, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. (CT).

Winner Selection:

Prize winner will be selected by the Sponsor and announced via social media on November 19. Only one winner will be selected. The winner will be selected upon verification by the Sponsor that all Contest requirements have been met. Odds of winning will depend on the number of eligible entries received.
Contest entrants agree to abide by the terms of these Official Rules and by the decisions of the Sponsor which are final on all matters pertaining to the Contest. The Contest is governed by the laws of the United States. All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply. All taxes, fees, and surcharges on prizes are the sole responsibility of the prize winner.


The winner will receive a HSS-610 L/XL New Elite Vest ($159.95), a HSS LifeLine System ($39.95), HSS Glow Clips ($7.95), two HSS hats ($30), a Hunter Ed safety course ($24.50),  a Wolf 209 Magnum Break-Action Muzzleloader ($246.95), U.S Sportsmen’s Alliance 1 year Sustaining Membership ($25), and USSA hat ($10) .
No substitution or transfer of prizes is permitted except by the Sponsor.


This Contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Entrants agree to completely release Facebook, Twitter or Instagram of any responsibility related to this Contest. Entrants agree to providing information to the Sponsor and not to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
By entering this Contest, you agree to be bound by these Official Rules. Entrants further agree to be bound by the decisions of the judges, which shall be final and binding in all respects. The Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Contest or website; to be acting in violation of the Official Rules; or to be acting in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any other person.

Limitations of Liability:

The Sponsor is not responsible for and may disqualify entries that are lost, late, incomplete, invalid, illegible, misdirected, failed transmissions, or partial or garbled transmissions, whether the result of human, mechanical, or electronic error or whether in the transmission, submission, or processing of the entries or otherwise. The Sponsor assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft, destruction, authorized or unauthorized access to, or alteration of entries. The Sponsor is not responsible for any problems or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems, servers or providers, computer equipment, software, failure of email or entries on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any web site or combination thereof, including injury or damage to participants or to any other person’s computer related to or resulting from participating or downloading materials in this Contest. If, for any reason, the Contest is not capable of running as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of the Sponsor which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Contest, Kalkomey Enterprises, Inc. reserves the right at its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Contest.
The Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any entry of an entrant who is found tampering with the entry process or with the conduct or operation of any Contest or in violation of these Official Contest Rules.
Each prize is awarded “as is” with no warranty or guarantee, either expresses or implied, outside of manufacturer’s limited warranty. No transfer, assignment, or substitution of a prize permitted, except Sponsor reserves the right to substitute for prize an item of equal or greater value in is the event an advertised prize is unavailable. All federal, state, provincial, and local laws and regulations apply.
Winners may be required to sign and return an Affidavit of Eligibility, a Liability Release, and, where legally permissible, a Publicity Release within 7 days following the date of first attempted notification. Failure to comply with this deadline may result in forfeiture of the prize and selection of an alternate winner. Return of any prize/prize notification as undeliverable may result in disqualification and selection of an alternate winner. Winner hereby further agrees that he/she will sign any documents necessary to transfer copyright of the entry to Sponsor within 7 days following the date of first attempted notification.
Acceptance of the prize constitutes permission for Sponsor and its agencies to use winner’s name and/or likeness, biographical material, and/or entry (including an altered form of the entry) for advertising and promotional purposes without additional compensation, unless prohibited by law. By accepting prize, winner agrees to hold Sponsor, and their respective parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, partners, representative agents, successors, assigns, officers, directors and employees harmless for any injury or damage caused or claimed to be caused by participation in the Promotion or acceptance or use of the prize. Sponsor is not responsible for any printing, typographical, mechanical, or other error in the printing of the offer, administration of the Promotion or in the announcement of the prize.