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Hunter Judgment Mistakes, such as mistaking another person for game or not checking the foreground or background before firing

Safety Rule Violations, including pointing the muzzle in an unsafe direction and ignoring proper procedures for crossing a fence, obstacle, or difficult terrain

Lack of Control and Practice, which can lead to accidental discharges and stray shots

Mechanical Failure, such as an obstructed barrel or improper ammunition

Hunter aiming at unsafe target
Be sure of the target and what is in front of it and beyond it. If you cannot see what lies beyond the target, this is considered a skyline shot. Do not take skyline shots.

Staying Safe After the Shot

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Video Transcript
Rob

OK. I’m going to give you a quick introduction to what we’re doing out here. We put a trail camera just down there, and there’s some really big bucks.

Haley

And I’m hoping to get my first buck.

Rob

First one. So it should be pretty exciting. Let’s see how it goes. OK. Time out. We all know that hunting is exciting, whether it’s your first buck or your 50th. But watch and see what happens when the thrill of the hunt turns into a risky situation.

Rob, whispering

Just a second. I think we got something here.

Through the binoculars, we see a buck.

Rob

This one’s got a nice set of antlers on it.

Haley takes aim, releases the safety, and shoots.

Rob

Nice shot.

Haley

I got it.

Rob

You got it.

Haley turns toward Rob.

Haley

I got my first buck.

They high-five.

Rob

All right.

On screen, the action freezes.

Rob

Stop right there. See if you notice what’s wrong with this picture. How on earth did she end up pointing the gun in my direction? Well, it’s a result of entering the zone. Something’s happening here that you can’t see or hear. It’s why we hunt. But it can also contribute to hunting incidents. Even before we spot the deer, adrenaline is pumping through our bodies. And as we see the deer coming, it skyrockets in our system. We have now entered the zone.

We see Haley shoot again, this time in slow motion.

Rob

And after the shot is made, our hunter is so engulfed with adrenaline that excitement overpowers safe gun handling. Now did you spot what three dangers have resulted from being in the zone? First, the semi-auto rifle automatically chambered another live round. Secondly, excitement caused Haley to forget to put the safety back on. Finally, with her finger still inside the trigger guard, she pointed the muzzle in my direction. It’s frightening to think what might have happened next. The truth is, we can’t avoid being drawn into the zone. So how do we prevent it from overriding the rules of safe gun handling? Well, the key is to control how we get out of it. Watch carefully and see how you can get out of the zone.

On screen: CALM DOWN

Rob

Immediately after the shot, stop what you’re doing. Take a deep breath and try to calm down.

On screen: CHECK SAFETY

Rob

Make sure that your safety is on.

On screen: UNLOAD

Rob

Unload your gun before leaving your stand or interacting with others.

On screen: POINT MUZZLE AWAY

Rob

And as always, keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Good job. All right. Let’s go tag that. So, hunting can be adrenaline-pumping and super exciting.

Haley

That’s for sure.

Rob

But keeping a calm head and remembering safety during the most exciting time of the hunt is one of the most important parts.

Haley

Yeah. So let’s go get the truck and load up my buck.