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Course Outline

Attention! The information on this page may save your life or the lives of your friends and family.

The Four Primary Rules of Firearm Safety

1. Watch that Muzzle!

Keep it pointed in a safe direction at all times.

Hunters with firearms

2. Treat every firearm with the respect due a loaded gun.

It might be, even if you think it isn’t.

Hunters loading firearms

3. Be sure of the target and what is in front of it and beyond it.

Know the identifying features of the game you hunt. Make sure you have an adequate backstop—don’t shoot at a flat, hard surface or water.

Hunter in blaze-orange pointing a firearm at a elk with a don't symbol over the picture

4. Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.

This is the best way to prevent an accidental discharge.

Duck hunter holding firearm beside a body of water

Additional Rules about Firearm Safety

5. Check your barrel and ammunition.

Make sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions, and carry only the proper ammunition for your firearm.

Two hunters in blaze-orange loading a break-action firearm

6. Unload firearms when not in use.

Leave actions open, and carry firearms in cases and unloaded to and from the shooting area.

Hunter in blaze-orange putting his firearm in its case

7. Point a firearm only at something you intend to shoot.

Avoid all horseplay with a gun.

Hunter in blaze-orange holding her firearm

8. Don’t run, jump, or climb with a loaded firearm.

Unload a firearm before you climb a fence or tree, or jump a ditch. Pull a firearm toward you by the butt, not the muzzle.

Two hunters crossing fence

9. Store firearms and ammunition separately and safely.

Store each in secured locations beyond the reach of children and careless adults.

Step 6 of cleaning a firearm:  Store in horizontal position, or with muzzle pointing down.

Step 6: Store in horizontal position, or with muzzle pointing down.

10. Avoid alcoholic beverages before and during shooting.

Also avoid mind- or behavior-altering medicines or drugs.

Graphic of beer cans and a firearm lying on the ground with the words A Deadly Mix
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