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Always unload guns before crossing fences or other obstacles or before negotiating rough terrain.

  • When crossing fences, logs, or other obstacles alone:
    • Unload the firearm.
    • Cover the muzzle or place something under it to help keep out debris.
    • Place the firearm on the other side of the fence or obstacle to be crossed, with the muzzle pointed away from you and your crossing point.
    • Cross the obstacle. If you are crossing a wire fence, cross close to a fence post to prevent damage to the fence.
    • Retrieve the firearm, keeping the muzzle pointed away from you.
    • Check the barrel for obstructions.
    • Reload and continue the hunt.
  • When crossing obstacles with others:
    • Stand back-to-back and unload both firearms.
    • Have one person hold both firearms, following the steps for passing a firearm to another person.
    • Let the person without the firearms cross the obstacle.
    • Hand both firearms to the hunter who has crossed. That person confirms that he or she has control of both firearms.
    • Let the second person cross the obstacle.
    • Return the firearm to the second person.
    • Stand back-to-back to reload and continue the hunt.
One hunter crossing fence
Two hunters crossing fence

Safe Fence Crossing

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Video Transcript


Fence crossing.

On screen: ONE PERSON

First alone.


At some point when you’re out hunting, you may reach a fence that you have to cross. Just make sure that you do it safe—and here’s how. Start by unloading your firearm. I like to remove my cap and place it on the the muzzle to protect anything from entering the barrel. Then lay the firearm, with the muzzle covered, flat on the ground on the other side of the fence so the muzzle is always pointed away from you. Cross the fence safely without damaging the fence. Once you have crossed the fence, keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, reload, and check the safety once again.

On screen: TWO PEOPLE


For two people crossing a fence. First, unload your firearms. The first person to cross the fence first hands their firearm to the second person, making sure both muzzles are pointed up. The second person then hands the firearms over the fence to the first person. The second person then crosses the fence safely. Remember not to damage the fence. Then, facing away from each other, they reload their firearms, check the safety once again, and continue their hunt.