You keep your firearm in top condition … until you stumble in the mud. How can you quickly clear the gunk out of your gun barrel and get back on the hunt?

  1. First, get to safe footing.
  2. Open the action and unload your gun.
  3. Remove the barrel according to manufacturer’s guidelines.
  4. Pull the portable cleaning rod out of your hunting kit, and use it to push the mud or other debris out of the barrel from the breech end.
  5. Flip your rod around and use the other end to polish your barrel with a cloth.

Now that your barrel is clear, reassemble your firearm and get back to the hunt!
Remember, certain carry positions provide better protection against brush and other debris that could clog your barrel. Make sure you are carrying your firearm in a way that is safe for you, your companions, and the terrain.

Making a shot is really exciting, but that adrenaline rush can also cause dangerous situations. It’s essential that you remember the Commandments of Firearm Safety—they are RULES, not recommendations—at all times, even when you’re eager to check your target.

After your shot, remember to:

  • Take a deep breath and stay calm.
  • Make sure your safety is on.
  • Unload your firearm.
  • Keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

Taking game is really exciting, but you have to stay safe, too! How do you stay safe after the shot?

Before your hunt, you want to maximize your experience. With that comes properly setting up a turkey or deer blind. But do you know how to do it safely?

Before you set up, identify where other hunters will arrive in your hunting area (near a trail or open area). Set up your blind and decoy so that they are visible to other hunters, and so your zone-of-fire will be pointing away.

Finding a good location for your ground blind is critical to a safe hunt. You want to be slightly concealed, with a line of fire away from the blind, and where the decoy is visible after your blind. After that, hunker down for your shot!

How Do I Find a Place to Hunt?

First, do your research at your state agency’s website, looking for public lands, also known as Wildlife Management Areas. Federal lands are also available, if you buy the appropriate permit.

If you are new to hunting or the area, you can try hunting with a guide. Use sites like,, and to find trustworthy and reliable guides who can, well, guide your hunt.

Another increasingly common option is to purchase a hunting lease. A hunting lease is an agreement between a private landowner and a hunter (or group of hunters) that lays down the rules and times for hunting on that land. A lease has some advantages, in that it can limit the number of hunters on one piece of land, may result in bigger game, and may offer other perks, like semi-permanent campsites and facilities. However, leases can get expensive and hard to find, and these areas are not always well-managed.

Arguably the best-case scenario for any hunter is private property. The good old days of hunting on a handshake are gone in many states, but there’s still no replacement for purchasing your own property or knowing someone who will allow you access to their land. If you take this approach, please know that “free access” is anything but free. Be ready to offer to help with managing the property, with fencing, maintenance, anything you can do to pitch in to the overall quality of the property. The property owner will appreciate the gesture.

Remember, be a respectful hunter, no matter where you hunt. If using private property, let the owner know when and where you will be hunting. When on public land, keep a watchful eye out for other hunters, don’t intrude upon another’s hunting spot, and leave the public property as you found it (don’t litter!).

There is private land next to my house. Can I hunt there if I contact the owner?

Maybe. You will have to ask permission from the landowner. When contacting a landowner, wear street clothes (not hunting gear), don’t bring a crowd, and make contact well before hunting season. Be polite, even if permission is denied: Your courtesy may affect the outcome of future requests.

In some states, written permission may be required. Be sure to check the regulations before you talk to a landowner.