Additional Rules About Firearm Safety
- Always make sure firearms are unloaded and keep the action open until you are in the field actually hunting or preparing to shoot.
- Be sure your firearm is safe to operate, and know how to operate it safely.
- Only use the correct ammunition for your firearm, and be aware of the range of your ammunition.
- Wear hunter orange clothing on your head and upper torso when hunting or moving.
- If you slip while walking, control the muzzle, unload, and check the bore for obstructions before continuing to hunt.
- When crossing a fence alone, unload your firearm and place it under the fence so that it is pointing away from you both before and after you cross.
- When crossing a fence with partners, unload all firearms and leave the actions open, have a companion hold the firearms while you cross, and then you hold the firearms as they cross.
- Establish safe zones-of-fire, especially when hunting with companions.
- Remember to re-engage your firearm’s safety after shooting, and double-check the safety frequently in the field.
- Never use your firearm’s scope as binoculars for spotting or looking for game—you may be pointing your loaded firearm at someone.
- Always wear a proper, weight-rated, full-body harness and fall restraint when climbing up or down from an elevated stand and while on the stand. Also use only a stand that is manufactured to industry standards and rated for your weight plus the weight of all your gear and clothes.
- Never climb into an elevated stand with your firearm—always use a haul line; unload your firearm and/or remove caps, remove primer, and empty the flash pan of muzzleloaders; and cover the muzzle and keep it pointed away from you when hauling it up into an elevated stand.
- Unload your firearm in the field, and keep the action open when the hunt is over. Never enter a vehicle, camp, or house with a loaded firearm.
- Always develop a hunting plan, let others know the plan, and then stick to the plan.
- Avoid all alcohol and other drugs before or during hunting.
- Wear eye and ear protection, and never horseplay with firearms.
- If companions violate any of these rules, bring it to their attention immediately. Refuse to hunt with anyone who refuses to correct their behavior.
(Be aware that certain types of firearms and many shooting activities require additional safety precautions—always follow your firearm and ammunition manufacturers' owner’s manuals and safety instructions.)