About the Study Guide

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A successful hunt begins with target practice at the shooting range.

Pointing a shotgun

Many of the rules that govern safe firearm handling in the field apply to the shooting range. But a shooting range has some additional requirements.

  • Check the range requirements and restrictions. Many ranges are designed to handle only certain types of firing or have caliber limitations due to safety and range damage.
  • Read all range rules that apply to the type of shooting you will do that day.
  • Make sure that when your bullet passes through the target (or misses), it will impact the backstop or catch. Remember, areas around the range may have hunters, trails, farm animals, homes, vehicles, etc. that your bullet could reach if it leaves the range.
  • Shoot only at paper targets. Metal, trash, and other items can cause uncontrolled ricochets that can come back towards the firing line or leave the range area and create hazards for other range visitors.
  • If there is a range officer, be sure to follow his or her instructions while shooting.
  • When not shooting, unload your firearm, open the action, and leave the firearm on the range line or bench until you’re given further instructions.
  • Don’t handle your firearm while other shooters are downrange. Step away from the firing line or bench until the range is clear and the range officer instructs you to approach the line or bench.
  • If no range officer is present, all shooters must decide on safety commands beforehand so that it’s clear when someone intends to go downrange.
  • Anytime a person is beyond the firing line or downrange, unload your firearm and step away from the line until the other person returns.
  • Under no circumstances should you shoot a firearm when someone is downrange or past the firing line.
  • Always wear hearing and eye protection, even if you’re watching others shoot.
  • Respond immediately to anyone calling for a “cease fire.”